Let’s be honest — when we travel even when it’s an upscale trip, whether that be glamping in Africa or a luxury resort in Fiji, we still need to get there. Traveling to and fro can be challenging regardless of whether you fly first class and hire a private driver when you arrive. Regardless of how you travel, there are demands placed on our bodies and minds.
First of all, we’re not at home in that comfortable familiar environment, where our day-to-day routine is interrupted. This obviously affects some people more than most. Avid travelers will say they’re comfy on the move more than they are at home and some hate routine. But, we all need sleep and a ‘sound’ sleep is better for our health.
Everyone has a natural body clock they’re born with and factors can effect how we feel, how we sleep and how much energy we have.
Ever hear of something referred to as your circadian rhythm? In simpler terms, this is also known as your sleep/wake cycle or body clock and we all have one. Yes, even my friends who fight me on this, saying they ‘operate’ fine on 4 hours of sleep a night. While they may be able to function with less sleep than others, getting an optimal amount of sleep each night will help you feel revitalized and even boost your mood.
It is our natural, internal system designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period and is controlled by a part of our brain that responds to light.
She asserts that we are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis which has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness and that only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.
Take Naps in Nature
Personally, I love to sleep outdoors and used to fall asleep reading a book on a hammock in our upstate New York camp in the Adirondacks growing up as a child. I miss those lazy sunny days – my body would naturally fall asleep to the sound of the purring motorboats or if earlier in the day or at dusk, the sound of paddles from canoes going why. There’s nothing quite like it. Be sure to read my write up on How Nature Can Heal You.
If you don’t have access to a lake to snooze near, there are plenty of places you can relax during the day, even when you’re traveling. For example, taking a quick cat nap in a park, finding a field to relax in for an hour or even a bench near a tree.
Your circadian rhythm causes your level of wakefulness to rise and dip throughout the day. For example, I feel like crashing around 3 pm — it’s almost as if my body needs to “crash” and this is regardless of whether I have had a big lunch or not. I stay away from carbs more often than most (I was even more tired when I ate complex carbs), but that late afternoon slug is real, at least for me. It varies from person to person.
Regardless of how early I go to bed, early mornings are tough for me but not for my other half. And not to over complicate things, but the truth is that our circadian rhythm changes as we age. Remember how much sleep we craved as a teen?
What’s key is following our body’s natural signs – listen for it, pay attention and even write it down. We all know how badly a red-eye can upset our natural body clock. Sometimes they can’t be avoided but do the best you can with maintaining a natural flow even when you travel.
Food That Nourishes You
It’s also important to nourish your system with some of the same types of food you know your body responds to well. Avoid those sugars and I don’t just mean chocolate. Fruit has a lot of sugar and while I’m a huge fan of blueberries and make smoothies often, getting plenty of organic veggies on the road can help you feel better and keep you regular.
I’m a huge fan of green juices. While they’re not always easy to get on the road, especially in Europe, seek veggies and veggie juices out as much as you can. A lot of times juice bars will add orange juice or something acidic to a list of green ingredients – ask them to omit it. A little finger, green apple or a dash of pineapple can help to naturally sweeten those green drinks without your drink being 80% orange juice and 20% green. You get the idea.
Bottom line, it’s more alkaline and your body will thank you.
Even if you’re not a regular meditator, it is astonishing what alone time can do for the soul. Breathe, breathe, breathe – in and out through the nose and find a place to relax. If you can’t find a field or park, how about a beach – sit on the stones and reflect on them. Gratitude will set in as your marvel at the rocks or leaves or hills around you.
Nature is my favorite choice but if you’re traveling in a major city and can’t seem to find a “green” place to relax, find a relaxing cafe and put on earphones to some serenity music (you should always have meditative music with you on your phone or laptop when you travel).
In Europe, Asia and many other parts of the world, you’ll find cathedrals and churches in towns and cities. Even if you are not religious, stepping into a spiritual building where they have candles going anytime of day, can be relaxing. Walk up to the candles, find a place to sit where they reach your gaze and be “one” with them. It will help you relax and zone out, which is a great way to boost your energy and make you feel more balanced.
And, don’t forget to bring a good book. While they have a ton of audio downloads (better for traveling I know), I still prefer an old fashioned novel or a mind/body balance read in paperback. Here are some great reads to get you into balance.