For many people, travel is one of the joys of life. For others, it’s a core part of their work. Regardless of why you travel, good sleep promotes wellness that lets you get the most out of any trip.
Despite the importance of quality rest, it’s common to struggle with sleep when traveling. Poor sleep on a trip can have many causes, but particular steps can improve sleep both in transit and during the rest of your trip. While travel can lead to new and exciting experiences, it also brings potential downsides. Many people find that they can’t sleep when traveling, making it harder to fully enjoy their trip.
Even without the circadian rhythm disruption of jet lag, alterations to a person’s daily schedule, including their bedtime, can contribute to sleep problems. Interruptions to a normal sleep routine may make it harder to fall asleep or sleep through the night. Especially on vacations and business trips, it is common for people to want to overload their daily agenda and squeeze the most into each day. This may lead to overstimulation or insufficient time budgeted for sleep.
A long travel day can be exhausting, but quality rest allows you to quickly recover. Try not to over-schedule the first few days of your trip and budget plenty of time for sleep. Drink water before, during, and after your travel day to help stay hydrated.
Dreem Distillery Founder Hayley Dawes interviews Michael Bonsor, Managing Director at Rosewood London about travel and sleep…
What does a day in your life look like?
My day starts with a 6.30am wake-up call and by 8am I am into work. I am usually wrapping up work at around 8pm in the evening and then heading to a dinner. I love hospitality because every day is different, so those 12 hours at work are so varied. Interviewing new team members, strategizing with the team on new concepts for the restaurants, meeting VIP guests, attending press events, approving a photography shoot, planning my next trip, or reviewing last month’s accounts – every day is very different.
What is your quality of sleep normally like?
I get at least 6 hours of decent sleep, however hitting that magic 8 hours is less frequent and is something I am focused on achieving.
What are the characteristics of when you’ve slept well and how do they change if you’ve had a poor night’s sleep?
Waking up isn’t so difficult after good sleep, you feel more invigorated than sleepy, and you are able to hit the road running once in the office. As the hotel is 24/7 you need to be ready for the day immediately once you are awake. If I don’t get that great sleep, I suffer and so does the business and you need to be focused.
Do you suffer from jet lag when you travel?
When travelling back and forth from the USA I do. Especially LA, when you’re travelling over 8 times zones on a 10.5-hour flight. Whether it is from New York or Los Angeles, I get on the latest flight possible so that I am naturally tired, in order to maximise sleep onboard. I also eat in the lounge before an overnight flight and aim to be asleep as soon as possible after take-off – especially on those short New York to London flights.
Do you have any recommendations for a long-haul plane journey?
If you are flexible on flight times, choose flights that don’t require you to get up at the crack of dawn, so you’re well rested before travel. Also take into consideration what time you are landing – the last thing you want to do it hit rush hour traffic after a 10-hour flight if you can avoid it. Change your watch to the destination time as you are taxiing and start to get into the destination time zone. Keep alcohol and food consumption light. Drink lots of water and get up and stretch and do a few laps of the plane. I normally get up and chat to the crew – always a few good stories and of course I have met a few clients onboard too – new and existing, at times it can be a great place to network!
What are your key carry on flight essentials?
I dress smartly at the airport and always bring a change of clothing for the plane; I change before we take off onboard especially if I am aiming to sleep. It is important for me to arrive dressed well and not a crumpled mess. Dreem Distilery CBD Night Drops are the best and I always take a few before dozing off. When travelling for business I always bring onboard a suit to hang in the closet, just in in case checked bags are lost. In addition, facial mist and mouthwash keeps you feeling more alert and refreshed, and a great pair of noise cancelling headphones to get some peace and quiet.
What’s your night-time routine?
A brush of the teeth and a wash of the face is a must. In my bedroom I need complete darkness, so that annoying fire alarm light is covered up and black out blinds down. CBD drops 30 minutes before bedtime of course too!
What are your favourite London hot spots?
I love Louie on West Street and Langan’s Brasserie especially the upstairs invitation only bar. I recently went to Fallow – the food was incredible and great service. I also like the vibe at 180 House during the week.
What travel destinations do you still have on your bucket list?
Dealing with jet lag: Realigning your circadian rhythm with your new time zone is critical to getting over jet lag. Exposure to natural light and melatonin supplements can be beneficial, but it’s important to have the proper timing in order to avoid further desynchronising your internal clock.