Tag: relax

7 Tips for better sleep on the road

7 Tips for better sleep on the road

If there’s one thing planners need, it’s a good night’s sleep. But it’s not always easy to do when there are hundreds of event details swirling through your brain at 2 a.m.

Head out on the road, add an unfamiliar bed, a few time zone changes and an over-stuffed schedule, and sleep can become even more elusive. So what’s the solution?

Plan to sleep, as in, put the pieces in place, prep your mind and body and set the stage for sleep success, no matter where in the world you lay your head. Here’s how:


1. Pick your room wisely

Ask for a room that’s a long way from typical hotel noise-makers like guest elevators, room service/housekeeping elevators, ice machines, vending machines or laundry areas. Also steer clear of guestrooms near function rooms, lobby bars or outdoor pools, particularly in ‘party towns’ like Miami, New Orleans, Vegas, etc., where events can be loud, long and impossible to sleep through. In bustling cities, rooms on higher floors will put a bit more distance between you and the din of nearby highways and early morning garbage truck pickups.

2. Embrace the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign – and the security latch

Whether you’re dealing with jet-lag or just need a 20-minute nap, you’ll sleep a lot better if you embrace the power of the Do Not Disturb sign – it’s your first line of defense against the well-intentioned but sleep-disruptive knocks from hotel staff. The second line of defense: flipping the door lock and security latch to prevent intrusions.

3. Wear your sunglasses…at night?

Though it may sound a bit strange, and look a bit odd to the room service guy, wearing ‘blue blockers’ or a pair of sunglasses with amber lenses at night can help you fall asleep more easily, particularly if you go to bed clutching a smartphone or tablet. Why? Because screens blast blue light into your eyes, which the brain interprets as daylight. All that light suppresses the release of our fall-asleep chemicals and triggers the release of daytime-alertness-chemicals, right at the time when we’re trying to drift off.

Don’t have amber shades? Then improvise with your usual sunglasses to reduce the ‘screen-shine’ and always remember to dim screen(s) to the max to prevent those middle of the night texts from lighting up your room and waking your brain.


4. Put the brakes on your brain

You’ll sleep better if you put the brakes on the brainwave activity that can keep you over-revved at night. Start by shutting down the laptop, TV and smartphone at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Next, strap on the headphones and tune into a sleep-inducing play list  or guided meditation to help you drift off.

You can also try Brainwave Power Music  which utilizes ‘binaural beats,’ a therapeutic collection of meditative sound patterns designed to help encourage deep, restful sleep.

5. Wind down your body

The simplest way to prep your body for sleep is with a hot bath. Some tub time will help open the blood vessels and relax muscles, making sleep come more easily. To boost the sleep-promoting effects, some lavender essential oil added to the bath or spritzed around the room can help cut anxiety and insomnia according to a recent British study from the University of Southampton.

6. Deprive your senses

When you’re sleepless in Seattle or wide-awake in Wellington, black-out curtains, earplugs and eyeshades are essential to getting a good night’s rest. Forget to pack the plugs and shades? Then improvise. Try sleeping with a hand towel or spare t-shirt across your eyes to block out light and put bed pillows over your ears to tamp down extraneous noise.

Also—never sleep with the TV on. The constantly flickering light, subtle as it may seem when your eyes are closed, will trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, making falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult.

7. Ring them bells

When you have an early event to manage or a pre-dawn flight to catch, concerns about sleeping through the alarm can keep you awake and undermine the quality of your sleep once you do finally drift off. Instead of tossing and turning, my strategy is to make it virtually impossible to oversleep – thus the multiple alarm technique, no ‘snooze’ button necessary:
·      Start by setting the alarm on your iPhone and your iPad, placing both well out of arm’s reach.
·      Add to that a wake up call, plus a follow-up call.
·      Top it off with a scheduled-the-night-before room service breakfast delivery, and you’ll be ready for action.
·      Need a bit more backup? Then re-purpose your old, decommissioned Blackberry and use it as an alarm clock. It’s loud, can go for days without charging and never fails.

10 Healthy ways to avoid the afternoon slump

10 Healthy ways to avoid the afternoon slump

As inconvenient as that predictable postprandial plunge between 2 and 4 p.m. can be, scientists tell us it’s actually a biological imperative, a mini version of the drowsiness we feel just before bedtime when our core body temperature drops, signaling the brain to release that heavenly chemical dream weaver, melatonin.

Some cultures embrace the slump with a midday siesta; ours not so much. In fact, we westerners tend to make matters worse by giving nary a nod to breakfast, then overcompensating with a carb-crazy lunch and sugary chaser, the perfect prelude to a mid-afternoon plunge. What’s more, once the yawns hit, a caramel latte or candy bar on the run will only provide temporary relief, if not make matters worse.

Here are 10 healthy habits that will help stave off an afternoon siesta:


Declare a time out

Five minutes of alone time to sit, practice deep breathing and clear your mind will put you on a better mental footing to face the rest of the day.

Go for a walk

There’s nothing like a little fresh air, exercise and change of scenery to recharge your metabolism for the work ahead. If the weather outside if frightful, walk briskly down a covered breezeway or up and down a flight or two of stairs to get your blood moving.

Have a drink (No, not that kind of drink!)

A tall glass of ice water does wonders to stave off sleep and rally your metabolism. But avoid alcohol; the sugar content leads to plunge city.

Wrangle your incoming

Counter an approaching plunge by shifting your focus to the texts, voice mails and emails that have amassed while you were busy. It’s a great way to divert a downward spiral and be productive at the same time.


Have a snack (No, not that kind of snack!)

Boost your metabolism with an energy-rich snack. Fresh fruit, trail mix with nuts, or whole-wheat crackers with string cheese are good choices if available. If your only option is vending machine fare, peanut butter and crackers provide a welcome carb-protein pick-me-up. But avoid candy; it lets you down fast.

Plug into your playlist

Spending a few minutes listening to upbeat, engaging music can pick up the beat when it starts to lag. Personally, I’d steer more toward Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin’” than, say, Adele’s “Hello.”

Plan tomorrow

Getting a jump on coordinating the appointments and tasks you’ll face tomorrow can interject a welcome wider perspective into your day and clear your mind for a relaxing evening.

Take a reading break

Words have a way of reviving and relaxing us when the minutiae of the day starts to take its toll. Keep a book of inspiring quotes, jokes or meaningful reflections handy or bookmark the same online and use these to revive and reset your mood as needed.


Open the curtains

Feeling drowsy? Part the curtains and welcome in as much sunlight as possible. A 2006 scientific study found that 20 minutes of exposure to bright light increased alertness and boosted brain response. The reason? That old dream weaver Melatonin can’t be produced in bright light.

Catnap if you can

If time and circumstances permit, a 20-minute nap (but no more) can do wonders for your energy level. Scientists caution, however, that catnaps are not a good option if you suffer from insomnia, as they may make nighttime sleeplessness worse.