Summer Vacations and Sleep!

Blogger:  Mary Helen Uusimaki.

Why is it that you feel so refreshed after a great vacation – whether it’s a week at the beach or just a 3 day out-of-town adventure? It may be because you slept like a champ!

Why did you sleep so well? It could be because you are experiencing a change in environment. All of the little things that creep into your mind at night and keep you awake are on vacation too. You are able to switch it off and simply relax. The first step to a sleep filled vacation is to set your e-mail to “out of office” and unplug.

Without the early wake-up call, lunches to pack, school buses to catch, traffic to fight… you have quiet mornings greeting you instead of rush hour! As you leave your daily grind behind, you begin to relax and are likely to find yourself MOVING more. Studies suggest daily exercise can also improve sleep quality.

Another tip is to get outside in the sunlight (don’t forget the SPF!). The light you are exposed to in the early hours of the day will help you sleep at night. It is true! “The light helps to regulate your biological clock and keep it on track. This internal clock is located in the brain and keeps time not all that much differently from your wristwatch.” 

Don’t overdo it, you can’t bank sleep. So how much is enough? Do you go to bed early and sleep late? No, follow your body’s natural clock and remember that adults generally need seven to nine hours of sleep and newborns need more than 16 hours per day. The rowdy kiddos fall somewhere in between, with teenagers needing nine to 10 hours per day and preschoolers 11 to 12, including naps.

Not all of us find bliss on vacation, some come back tired and worn out. If you did you not sleep while at the beach or camping in the mountains — maybe you need to take a sleep vacation! Yes, there are hotels that offer “sleep experts” on staff and 24-hour sleep concierges.

In a week, I am heading to North Carolina with my two crazy kids to visit an old friend and I plan to sleep like a champ. Step 1 is to set my email to “GONE FOR THE WEEKEND” and Step 2 is to pack my favorite pj’s and “can’t live without pillow”. After charging my iPod, I’ll hit the road for some fun with my BFF and yes… a well deserved night of sweet dreams!

If you are heading out this weekend, take your favorite pillow and get those zzz’s. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you!




Links of interest:
How Alcohol Affects Your Sleep
Sleep Tips  
3 Strategies to Reset Your Sleep Cycle 


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