Saturday 29 November 2014

Summer sleep guide

On the plane: Chair sleeping

Problem: Can't sleep sitting upright

Solution: Change into cosy, pyjama-like clothing, and have a pashmina or throw to give you an extra layer of warmth as air conditioning can make aeroplane cabins cool.

Stick to your bedtime routine so brush your teeth and read if that's what you always do. Recline your seat, stretch your legs out in front and use a supportive neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs.

On the plane: Out of sync

Problem: Suffering from jet lag

Solution: On a long-haul flight, set your watch at your destination's time to help you get in the right mindset and sleep accordingly.

Try not to doze off at all if you're arriving at night and if you land in the morning, avoid daytime naps, and try to match your 'bedtime' to an hour appropriate to the local time.

On the plane: Flying solo

Problem: In-flight interruptions

Solution: Try to book a window seat so you don't have someone clambering over you mid-flight. This will also give you control of the window shade.

Ensure you keep your seat belt fastened and don't cover it up with clothing or blanket so cabin crew don't have to wake you to check you're safely strapped in.

Also, try noise-cancelling headphones, or an iPod, to block out chatty fellow travellers, engines and kids.

Camping: A tent to call home

Problem: Can't get comfortable

Solution: Invest in a ground sheet to keep moisture at bay, a blow-up mattress (give it a couple of extra puffs of air before bedtime as it'll have deflated during the day) and choose the right sleeping bag for the season. A lightweight pillow proves a luxe touch for sleepy heads, too.

Camping: Sensory overload

Problem: Severe temperatures and light

Solution: Camp in the shade so extreme light and heat doesn't blast you awake at sunrise. An eye mask is handy to shield your eyes and wear light layers, which you can add to or take off as needed. Cold feet can make for a rubbish night's sleep too, so pop on a pair of socks before nodding off.

Camping: Shush!

Problem: Nature and neighbours keeping you awake

Solution: Use nature as 'white noise' and camp next to a babbling brook or lapping seashore, which will have a calming effect. Be prepared for noisy neighbours by packing ear plugs.

Hotel: Buzzing body

Problem: Overindulged at the bar and buffet

Solution: Alcohol makes people drowsy but the effect is short-lived, so drink water before you hit the sack. Rich foods can reduce the quality of sleep so try a 'snooze-inducing' meal of foods such as lettuce and turkey, and drink a glass of warm water and a slice of lemon to rehydrate gently in the morning.

Hotel: The Goldilocks effect

Problem: Can't get used to a different bed

Solution: Ask for a quiet room and test out the bed out as soon as you arrive.

If you think it'll cause problems, ask to change rooms. Pillows are often a cause for concern so consider packing a travel pillow and keep the room as dark as possible, which induces the body's sleep-aid melatonin.

Hotel: Bath bomb

Problem: Can't unwind

Solution: Ensure stress levels are low by taking a warm bath one to two hours before bed. The idea is to raise your body temperature artificially before allowing it to drop again as it adjusts to the cooler environment of your room. This tells your body to go to sleep.

Staycation sleep: Keep that routine

Problem: Your time off's being ruined by restless nights

Solution: Changing your bedtime, even if you're holidaying at home, can wreak havoc with sleeping patterns.

You should aim to go to bed, and wake up, at the same time each day, even at weekends. This will help your body get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning, and allow you to indulge without problems in occasional late nights.

Staycation sleep: Sunnyside Up

Problem: Light causes early waking

Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible, as light tells your body to switch off melatonin - the sleep aid. Black out blinds or an eye mask can help.

But you can use sunlight to help set your biological clock. As soon as you get up in the morning, go outside and get some fresh air for 10 minutes. The bright sunlight tells your body's natural biological clock that it's time to wake up and that same clock should then be set to tell your body it's time to go to sleep about 14-16 hours later.

Staycation sleep: Squeaky springs

Problem: You never feel totally comfortable in bed

If your bed is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. Its structure will have deteriorated by up to 75%, causing sleep disruption and potential damage to the spine.

Research shows that buying a new bed is more effective than sleeping pills and can improve a night's sleep by 42 minutes.

Staycation sleep: Nightcaps and napping

Problem: Fitful sleep

Solution: Avoid alcohol - although it makes people drowsy the effect is short-lived, and you're likely to wake several hours later and be unable to fall back to sleep.

Alcohol inhibits the deeper stages of sleep, vital so the body can heal and recharge.

Sleeping on your back is the best position for relaxing and will allow all your internal organs to rest.

One of the symptoms of the allergy was that the children became sleepy

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