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 Business Travel Impact on Body and Mind


Business Travel

The Cost of a Bad Night’s Sleep - Business Travel Impacting on Body and Mind


The true cost to body and mind of travelling for business is just 5 hours and 13 minutes of sleep.

The study, which was commissioned by IHG, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has revealed the biggest irritation whilst travelling away from home is a lack of sleep (80%).

Being away from family, a lack of time to explore and having to live out of a suitcase are among the worst things about travelling for work. 

Two fifths dislike being away from their family (42%), with struggling to eat healthily (27%), having to work longer hours (24%) and missing out on family events (24%) also among the disadvantages.

The biggest causes of a restless night’s sleep for travellers is the different environment (44%), unfamiliar noises (35%), and working late (35%).

To aid sleep, nearly half of people either try listening to music (47%) or watching TV (45%), with over a third (34%) even taking sleeping tablets.

The findings coincide with World Sleep Day, an international day devoted to tackling sleep issues. 


Dave Gibson’s Top 5 Tips For A Great Night’s Sleep Whilst Travelling:

  1. If you are travelling across time zones adjust your body clock in advance.
    Possibly the biggest single sleep disturbance for those travelling is jet lag. Jet lag occurs when we travel across time zones and try to adjust our body clock, or circadian rhythm, too quickly. The best way to avoid this is to set your routine closer to the time at your destination a few days before you travel. Move your bedtime either an hour earlier (or later) each evening and try to change your meal times too if possible.
  2. Get the light right.
    Light is the biggest single cue for sleep and can be used to help your adjustment when travelling and getting to sleep easier. We are naturally programmed to feel tired when it gets darker and to be woken up by the morning light. When travelling, get your lighting in sync with the new time zone as soon as possible. If you are arriving at night, stay awake while you travel, and keep your lighting bright so you feel tired when you arrive.
  3. Think water, especially when flying.
    Drink water to keep hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol especially when flying long haul, as dehydration is a symptom of jet lag. For those who plan to sleep within eight hours of getting off the plane avoid all caffeinated drinks. In addition, while the sedative effect of alcohol may help you to get to sleep more easily it fragments sleep and reduces sleep quality.
  4. Eat healthily, but not too late, and take pro-biotics.   
    Our digestive system and our sleep are inextricably linked and are affected by what and when we eat or drink. Eat a varied diet with foods containing nutrients such as tryptophan, magnesium and vitamin D and eating your last big meal about four (and at least two) hours before you go to sleep. If you are travelling across different time zones, as you adjust your sleep and wake times, also change your meals to the new time zone if possible.
  5. Choose your hotel carefully.
    Where you sleep, matters. Choose a destination hotel that offers you the best chance of a good night’s sleep. Check they have a decent pillow menu, black out blinds or curtains and decaffeinated drinks in the room. Check noise levels, too and ask them to provide you with a room that is on a quiet floor and away from noise pollution like traffic.

Let's Talk: The Cost of a Bad Night’s Sleep - Business Travel Impacting on Body and Mind.

The Cost of a Bad Night’s Sleep - Business Travel Impacting on Body and Mind. We speak to Dave Gibson - Sleep Expert & Health Care Professional (Osteopath on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing) on this.