Traveling in December or January?
Whether it’s a business trip or you’re traveling for the holidays, here are a few tips to set you up for success while adjusting to a new time zone, especially if you’re following Full Sleep’s sleep schedule.
As a reminder, keeping to your sleep schedule plays a major role in how greatly you can improve your sleep. Since the holidays can already be rather stressful and exhausting, with or without travel, it’s especially important to stick to the Full Sleep program right now.
The good news is, there are a couple of ways to maintain your sleep progress while on the road. Deciding which technique makes the most sense for your schedule or lifestyle, is up to you.
If you’re going on a short (e.g., 2-3 day) trip or crossing just one time zone, you may want to opt out of adjusting your sleep schedule to the new time zone. Let’s say you’re based in California (Pacific time zone) and you normally have a 12:00 am bedtime and 5:00 am wake time. But you have a weekend trip to New York (Eastern time zone) coming up. You may choose to stay on the same 12-5 am Pacific sleep schedule while in New York. So in Eastern time, that would be 3-8 am. You may decide that works for you because you know you’ll be out late and can make the 3 am bedtime work in New York. In that scenario, your sleep schedule would stay the same.
However, you may decide that staying in your “old” time zone isn’t compatible with the other activities you have planned, or you’ll be traveling to a new time zone for a longer period of time. In this case, you may want to gradually adjust to the new time zone, before you travel. Here’s how:
To help minimize the difficulty of changing your schedule, you can shift your bed and wake time (keeping to the same sleep window) earlier for eastbound flights and later for westbound flights. Adjusting by about 30 minutes each day until your flight, if possible, is usually easiest. When you arrive at your new destination, try to practice some simple tips that can help ease jet lag, like exposing yourself to sunlight during the day, eating meals at typical meal times (in the new time zone), and not going to sleep until your scheduled bedtime (in the new time zone).
If you absolutely must, you can take a brief power nap (e.g., 20 minutes) earlier in the day. Even with preparation, know that it could still take your body some time to adjust to the new time zone.
Finally, prior to your flight back, start gradually adjusting your sleep schedule again—30 minutes earlier each day for eastbound flights and 30 minutes later each day for westbound flights.
If you have questions about navigating your holiday sleep schedule, don’t hesitate to reach out to your sleep coach in the Full Sleep app.
Wishing everyone safe travels and sound sleep!