Getting home from a long vacation will leave you jet-lagged and probably unable to sleep. Staying in another time zone will disrupt your Circadian rhythm, making you sleep at odd hours of the night. Proper sleep is essential if you want to get back to your normal life, especially if you want to maximise your productivity and energy levels.
Vacations can wreak havoc on your internal clock, particularly if you spend time basking under the sun. A week’s vacation can reset your clock, synchronising your body to a different time zone. Jet lag is one of the most immediate and obvious results.
However, cases of extended insomnia are also quite common. Crossing time zones increases the recovery times of jet lag. Your body will typically need a day of adjustment for every one to two time zones crossed. Flying back to LA from Bermuda will require a couple of days for your body to adjust. Not getting enough sleep (or proper sleep) can leave you sluggish physically and mentally.
The Importance of Proper Sleep
The human body switches between a catabolic (active) and anaebolic (healing or growth) phase. Deep sleep is essential for the body to transition into its catabolic phase when using available proteins to recover and heal. Too little or interrupted sleep can prevent your body from transitioning to its catabolic phase, leaving you spent as you wake up in the morning. The problem is most common among individuals suffering from sleep apnea. However, cases of jet lag and insomnia can produce similar results.
Adjusting Your Internal Clock
Your body will eventually recover from jet lag within a week or two. However, you can speed things up with the help of the sun. Walking in the morning can activate the serotonin in your body and adjust your internal biological clock faster. An increase in serotonin will also balance your mood and ward off feelings of ennui and depression.
There is no substitute for the sun. Brightening the lights in your room will have little to no effect on your biological clock. Hold off on the wine before bedtime. If you want to force yourself to sleep, drinking wine isn’t an ideal solution. You’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night, disrupting your body from transitioning to deep sleep. A few minutes of light exercise or a soak in the tub are better options. Both exercise and soaking in water will burn calories, leaving you tired and ready for sleep.
Proper sleep is essential for a healthy and productive life. However, some practices can disrupt your sleep cycle. Caffeine can prevent your body from settling down and keep you up at night. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, so even an afternoon cup of coffee can leave you awake deep into the night. Avoid coffee, soda, energy drinks, tea, or any caffeinated drinks a few hours before dinner. Opt for a glass of juice, milk, or wine if you must have something other than water.
Your mattress also plays a big part in your nighttime relaxation. Choose a mattress that is compatible with your sleeping position, a firm mattress if you sleep on your back and a softer mattress if you sleep on your stomach or side. If you find your nights in hotels comfortable, it’s probably their pillow tops and spring mattresses. You can get the same pillow tops and mattresses online, as well as beautiful and soft cushions to make your bed more inviting.
Travelling exposes you to more than just exotic diseases from far-off places. You might be bringing home parasites that literally suck your blood. Hotels, motels, and other places frequented by travellers are often at risk of bed bug infestation. Unknowingly bringing home a couple or more bed bugs can develop into a serious problem. A female bedbug can lay five eggs a day, eventually causing a full-blown infestation in your bedroom in just a month or two. Bed bug bites have been known to cause insomnia, depression, and anxiety, aside from the usual skin problems and risk of infection.
Once you get home from travelling, immediately put your used clothes into the washer and set to hot water. Tiny blood drops on your bed are clear signs of feeding, so you might want to call the exterminator for heat or chemical treatment once you see them.
Vacations break the monotony of your daily life, but they can also break your regular sleep cycle. Fight off jet lag by basking in the sun, avoiding coffee in the afternoons, and making sure your bedroom is conducive to a good night’s sleep.