I recently took a trip to Bali to lead the fitness and adventure portion of a retreat. This was an awesome time, we hiked a volcano to watch the sun rise, did ME workouts, made great friends while putting people out of their comfort zone and had lots of fun while living a rest-based life. But there's just one problem.
I can't sleep on planes
Now most of the trips we take are through just a few time zones. So when you travel you typically may be a little tired, but nothing you can't recover from with a good night's sleep. But traveling half way around the globe, well that's a different matter entirely. Having done it twice now I can only imagine what it would be like to have to do this all the time for work.
Maybe some of you can identify with this?
In our sleep program we talk about how you must do everything you can to stay awake until it's dark outside to try and keep your circadian rhythm in order. So if you arrive at your destination at say 9pm, not a problem. But if you arrive at 9am.. not so fun. You'll spend a lot of time looking for Starbucks, Dunkin, and Tim Horton's if you're north of the border.
On the flip side of that, if you left in the morning and arrived at night but only spent 9 hours on a plane, odds are you're not going to be ready for beddy bye unless you got up extra early to try to adjust your schedule, consumed lots of booze on the way (day drinking for the win anyone?), or use a supplement like magnesium or melatonin to help you relax into sleep.
While I have used both of these methods to my advantage this time it's different....
I'm going to bed at my usual hour, around 11pm, and falling asleep quickly and sleeping soundly. But about 4.5 hours later my adrenaline kicks in and I'm awake. Not your typical "groggy maybe I'll fall back to sleep in a few minutes" kind of awake, but full on ready to tackle the day awake.
I've tried lots of tricks already too.
Adjust my final meal time to closer to bed. Check
Add carbohydrates to later meals to take advantage of insulin's effect. Check
Taken additional Magnesium to help me stay in restful sleep. Check
Even taken more Mg in the middle of the night after waking. Check
So what now?
First and foremost you don't want to let yourself get stressed out about it. That would be one of the worst things to do, along with taking sleep meds, which only help you get to a light sleep.
Possibly adding melatonin at bedtime and cutting coffee consumption back a bit more would help keep those adrenals from firing so much.
Shutting down the devices down and not working until bedtime and getting screen time in check would be ideal in any situation, but especially now.
But the bottom line is that we must know that this condition is not a chronic thing and if we just trust the process it will all come back online as it was before. Simply determine your course of action then Assess, Investigate, and Modify, just as if you were trying to lose fat.
And hey, I also have all those great memories of Bali to look back on!
Do you have issues with your sleep too?