How to Sleep Better When Traveling

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: What are some things you can do to help promote healthy sleep while you're away from home?
Air Date: 9/15/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Lydia Wytrzes, MD
lydia professional Lydia Wytrzes, M.D., medical director of the Sutter Sleep Disorders Center for Sutter Neuroscience Institute in Sacramento, is board-certified in both neurology and sleep medicine.

Dr. Wytrzes' interest in sleep medicine became focused while receiving fellowship training and conducting brain physiology research at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, which included working with patients in the university's sleep lab.

As a neurologist, she works with patients with sleep disturbances that include insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, parasomnias such as night terrors and sleep walking, and other sleep issues related to the brain and central nervous system.

Dr. Wytrzes received her medical training at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine and served residencies in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in neurology at the University of Massachusetts. In addition, she received fellowship training in EEG and neurophysiology at the University of Washington Medical Center.

Dr. Wytzres is a member of the American Sleep Disorders Association and American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
How to Sleep Better When Traveling
When you have to travel for work, or if you're finally on your way to a vacation, one of the biggest concerns of your trip might be getting enough sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need roughly seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

But, long travel delays, uncomfortable seating in a plane, car or train, missing the comfort of your own bed, and crossing time zones that cause jet lag can cause you to miss out on some much-needed shuteye.

What exactly is jet lag?

Jet leg happens when your internal clock is disrupted when you travel across time zones, which can cause extreme fatigue, insomnia and irritability.

How can you maintain healthy sleep while traveling?

Sadly, there is no way around traveling; but there are some things you can do to help promote healthy sleep while you are on the road (or in the air) and at an unfamiliar hotel.

While packing your luggage, be sure to include earplugs and a face mask to ensure you have a quiet and dark place to sleep. If you're someone who has a hard time falling asleep in any other bed than your own, you may want to consider bringing a pillowcase or throw blanket to bring at least part of your bedroom to your hotel room.

It can also be helpful if you're traveling from West to East (from California to New York, for instance) to take a natural sleep aid while flying. However, be mindful when doing this. You're already shortening your day, so by taking a sleeping aid or daytime naps can further disrupt your sleep pattern.

What else can you do to sleep better while you travel?

Dr. Lydia M. Wytrzes joins Melanie Cole, MS, to discuss why you may have trouble falling asleep while traveling, the importance of maintaining a healthy sleep while traveling and ways you can overcome your jet lag.


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