Sleep Therapy for the Frequent Traveller
Summary: Some people find it more difficult to sleep while travelling because of jet lag, a disruption to the body's cycle, or increased stress from moving their regular life away from home. Things seem harder when travelling, and having sleep apnea can make the idea of travel even more stressful. Here are some suggestions to help you adjust and get some sleep when travelling.
It’s hard to sleep when you are not at home. If you have to travel a lot for business or even if you choose to travel for pleasure, it can be hard to manage your natural rhythm. It’s hard, though, isn’t it, to have to balance work, or pleasure with your health? Still, though, there are ways to adjust so that you can make travel a part of your healthy living routine.
Business travel can be a worry and getting a good night’s sleep while on a business trip can make the idea of travel stressful. If you know that sleep is essential for you, and you know that travel will make it difficult to keep up with your plan for a regular sleep schedule, try to see what specific parts of travel interfere with sleep and minimize those as much as possible.
If you travel across time zones and if itis day when it should be dark, your body has trouble adjusting to the changes. Jet lag is worse when we travel from west to east because it is usually harder to fall asleep too early than it is to stay awake later than usual. Avoid dehydration by drinking water to help your body adjust, but don't drink caffeine or alcohol, because those will interfere with sleep. Exercise regularly and spend as much time outside in the sunlight if you are having trouble adjusting to a new time zone.
A New Room
If you have trouble sleeping in a strange environment regularly, try to bring some familiar things. Your own pillow or blanket, for instance, can make the bed feel more comfortable, and try to eliminate noise and light as much as possible. But keep the temperature in the room as close to your “night-time usual” as you can.
However, what if your sleep disorder is more than what is caused by a time zone change, unfamiliar surroundings, or a sudden change in the light? What if you have sleep apnea, insomnia or are under treatment to help with snoring, or are concerned that you are having difficulties with breathing at night.
CPAP machines are available in travel size. Your usual CPAP machine might be clunky and a bit unwieldy to try and travel with, but sleep apnea does not have to prevent you from travelling. As mentioned above, the machines do come in smaller, more convenient sizes for travelling. Some that are built for travel even have battery power so you don't have to worry about power cords.
If you prefer to travel with your usual machine, it does come in a convenient case, and as medical equipment, likely won't count towards your one carry-on item limit. It is better to travel with them as carry on equipment rather than checked baggage.
So don't worry about how your sleep apnea might affect your holiday, or your business travel. It is, in fact, one of the most convenient medical conditions to travel with. See your specialist if you need help choosing the right machine to travel with.