HOW TO WORK, PLAY, TRAVEL AND HAVE A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Travelling as much as I do, as well as working a few days a week, can start to take its toll. Especially if I also try to squeeze in writing, editing, exercising and catching up with family and friends. I certainly know I’m not alone here when work and life pressures get in the way of a good night’s sleep. So how can you ensure you catch enough zzz’s? For my latest Life Hack, I reveal my top six secrets to sleeping better at night below. EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE My number one method of ensuring a good night’s sleep is to exercise during the day. Currently I do circuit training three to four mornings a week when I'm home in Sydney. I like to mix it up with ocean swimming, soft sand running and pilates to keep me interested. However, travel can get in the way of my exercise routine. So I will always take my exercise gear with me on trips and use hotel gyms as an alternative. Often on my trips I am constantly walking, exploring, hiking, swimming and cycling, so if I don’t have time to hit the gym or if there isn’t one readily available, at least I know I’m fitting in some exercise into my travel days – all which help me sleep better at night.
TURN OFF ELECTRONICS As a rule, I stop watching television, working on my laptop and checking my phone at least 30 minutes before I go to bed. These activities actually stimulate the mind, rather than relax it. Instead, try listening to an audio book (listen to Serial, it’s amazing!), practise relaxtion exercise or read a book. If you set your alarm on your mobile, re-set your alarm (for the following morning) when you wake up so you don’t have to do it that night. It also saves you from jumping on your phone and getting distracted on Instagram…
MAKE SURE YOUR ROOM IS DARK The darker your room is when you fall asleep, the better you’ll sleep. Cover digital alarm clocks, use a good curtain or shade to block light from windows or use an eye mask to cover your eyes. I always sleep with ear plugs to block out noise and they help me fall asleep quicker, but I don’t like overly heavy curtains as I find it more difficult to get up in the morning. I’m a morning person and love the natural light pouring into my room – not too much though. It’s all a matter of finding the right balance that suits you.
KEEP YOUR ROOM COOL The temperature of your bedroom can also affect the way you sleep in the evenings. A bedroom that is too hot and humid, or too cold and crisp, can interfere with quality sleep. So invest in a standing fan during summer and a cosy doona/duvet for winter. On your travels make sure your room temperature is set to around 18 degrees by setting the air conditioning - if you're lucky to stay somewhere that has this! For home, I also linen bed sheets as I find these cool me down in summer and warm me up in winter. It’s the best material!
STAY AWAY FROM BIG MEALS AT NIGHT Try to make dinner time early in the evening, and avoid cooking with heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Fatty foods are difficult to digest and may keep you up. In addition, you wouldn’t want to indulge in a big meal and hit the pillow 30 minutes later. You need to give your body ample time to digest your meal properly, whilst you’re awake and still active.
STOP DRINKING COFFEE I don’t drink coffee, but I know so many people do. But you might be surprised to learn that caffeine can cause sleeping issues up to twelve hours after drinking coffee – crazy. My biggest advice is to quit – cold turkey. You don’t need it and its expensive. Think about what you can do with that money on your travels! If you can’t give coffee up, try to stop drinking coffee after lunch and/or cut back on your overall intake. You will feel amazing, I promise.
Do you have any other tips for ensuring a good night's sleep, whether you're at home or travelling? I'd love to hear them! Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.