This week marks the opening of many Christmas markets across the
globe. Whether you plan to spend a weekend in Munich eating fresh
gingerbread or five days in New York City ice skating in Central
Park, it's important to factor in a change to your
sleeping pattern to avoid jet lag.
Most European cities have one hour time difference to the UK
but, if you plan to travel further afield like the USA, time zones shift
from five to 10 hours - a considerable change to our regular
Working with Silentnight's sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, we have
come up with five tips to help you shift your sleeping pattern.
1) Set your watch to your new time
As soon as you leave your starting city, act as
if you're already in the timezone of your destination by moving
your watch forward or backwards. This will help trick your mind and
in turn, your body to thinking it's a different time.
2) Adjust your bedtime
Two days before travelling, adjust your regular
bedtime to be more in line with your new bedtime. For example, if
you're going to a European city, head to bed 30 minutes earlier or
later each night depending on where you are going. Or if it's
further afield, try and go to bed an hour later or earlier each
evening to ease yourself into the time difference.
3) Save the food and drink for the
Although it's tempting, try to leave alcohol and
heavy foods alone until you make it to your destination. Alcohol
can make you feel sleepy at first but it can also keep you awake
later in the day. Eating heavy food makes your heart work harder to
pump blood to your stomach and intestines which can also make you
feel sleepy so, try not to eat big meals while
4) Power Down
If you're flying long haul, you are likely to
have a screen with the latest movies and boxsets in the palm of
your hands. As much as this luxury is hard to resist try not to use
your personal TV the whole flight. Blue light produced by seat-back
TV's, phones, tablets and laptops keep your brain stimulated. Try
and have at least 40 minutes away from your screen - get up and
walk around, drink plenty of water and close your eyes.
5) Take a nap
Whether you're travelling by train, plane or
taxi, try and take a short nap en route to your destination.
Resting before arrival can help your body sync to a new time zone,
just make sure you are in a comfortable position and don't cross
your legs. This can restrict blood flow and disrupt your sleep.