Lack of sleep and stress – the age old problem

Posted by on 16 February, 2015
Sleep!! Now.... Oh Come on!!!! Sleep!! Now.... Oh Come on!!!!

Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts has recently launched an all-new program to provide insights and expertise specifically for business travellers. As a doctor, I applaud the people at Crowne for really understanding the importance of ensuring travellers maintain a sense of balance and wellbeing while on the road. So I’m excited to be able to share my advice and experience on this subject.

In the coming months, my posts will be shared on my own blog and LinkedIn page, as well as the Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts LinkedIn page.

Lack of sleep and stress – the age old problem

That old chicken and egg situation describing the much researched relationship between sleep and stress remains as confusing as ever. Much to no nobody’s surprise, studies have shown people with chronic stress report having sleeps that are shorter and of poorer quality. On the flip side, having shorter sleep duration predictably impacts negatively on relationships and on perceptions of your stress levels. In other words, stress kills your sleep and not getting enough sleep amplifies your stress levels.

If you’re a frequent business traveller, you are the personification of this paradox. By the time you’ve done a couple of overnight flights, pulled an all-nighter to get ready for the next day’s early meeting , then backed up again next week and done it all again, you’re a train wreck. In my experience, you can triple that if you come home to young kids and a partner who has felt your business absence acutely and is keen to thrust a couple of screaming kids in your direction as soon as you head through the door. Or if you’re surviving on a diet of cigarettes, red wine and minibar snacks or drive through burgers and chips.

So where do we start to right the wrongs that stress and lack of sleep have wrought on your mind and body? Here are my top three tips (by no means comprehensive)

  1. Get your sleep environment sorted. Too hot? Ditch the PJs, make sure you have a decent air conditioner in your hotel and trade the hot doona for a light cotton blanket. Chose a hotel room that helps you block out the light with heavier curtains or you will have to resort to an eye mask! Noisy neighbours (or hotel hall mates?) choose your hotel wisely or you may have to learn to love ear plugs! Make sure your hotel room has a good mattress and the right pillow for you. A pillow menu is a luxury that can be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a night of tossing and turning!
  2. Sort the rest of the main sleep killers out. Get enough exercise (grab what you can when you can), quit smoking, ditch the late night bottle of Shiraz, stop downing coffee come mid afternoon and eat well. Dinner is not chips and Johnny Walker from the mini-bar!
  3. If all else fails chat to your doctor about sleeping pills. I am no fan of chemically induced sleep, and we all know sleeping pills can make you feel drowsy the next day and can be addictive. However, chronic sleep deprivation and lack of sleep are an even worse toxic cocktail! Strategically taken, a sleeping pill when you travel can save you a night of tossing and turning and can help break the cycle. Just don’t use them on consecutive nights- they’re a circuit breaker not a regular nigh time feature! And road test them on a weekend you’re not working to make sure you’re not one of those who turn into a zombie for the next 24 hours!

Sleep tight and feel the love!

Ginni xx