Travel can be hard on a biphasic sleep schedule. As I type this, I am 30,000 feet above Knoxville, Tennessee. I’m departing from Atlanta. I’m three days removed from departing, Austin and two days removed from departing Midland. Next week, I’ll return to Austin, then Midland, then off to Washington DC.
Time zone changes, large temperature swings, long nights and early mornings can really reap havoc on your body’s biphasic sleep routine.
I’m no exception. I travel quite frequently and have struggled with finding some sort of balance to my biphasic sleep schedule. Beating the system and finding time to hit the reset button for your body is important.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama
In order to fully function while I’m on this type of travel schedule, I rely heavily on sleep. Sleep is the great equalizer of time. A good night’s sleep is like hitting the reset button on your body’s rhythm. Your body doesn’t know time zones. What it does know is rhythm and your body will remain on that rhythm until you rest it.
You must learn how to make yourself quickly adapt to another rhythm that works for your biphasic sleep schedule in a different time zone. These are my go to tools:
GoLite – I typically try to remember to pack my Philips GoLITE. Traveling through airports, working in dimly lit hotel restaurants and attending all-day conferences can make it difficult for your body to receive enough sunlight during the day. As little as 15 minutes of contact with a Philips GoLITE can provide your body with enough sunlight to trigger the “daytime” effect. This gives your body the ability to respond properly to the “nighttime” effect that makes you tired.
Blackout Curtains – The sun coming up too early can be just as detrimental to your rhythm as anything else. Imagine the sun coming up at 4am tomorrow. That’s how your body feels when you’re in a new time zone. Don’t be afraid to pull those blackout curtains at night and hide yourself from the light until the time when the sun rises at home. For example, if you live in the Central time zone and the sun comes up at 7 am, don’t open your black out curtains in the Eastern Time zone until 8 am local time. This will keep your body in a natural rhythm.
Power Naps – The nap is a critical component of biphasic sleep. You’ll want to take this nap at your “usual” time. For instance, if you typically nap at 3 pm central time, you’ll want to nap at 4 pm Eastern time. Feel free to sleep a little longer or even take two naps. Time your new waking hours to coincide with your schedule in the new time zone.
Fat and Sugar – Anyone trying to keep on their West Coast biphasic sleep schedule while on the east coast will find themselves going to bed extremely early. To help induce this sleep, eat fats and sugars. This is equivalent to taking a sleeping pill. If you’d rather opt for the full-on tranquilizer, take a 15-minute cold shower 1 hour before bedtime.
Travel doesn’t have to ruin your hard earned biphasic sleep schedule. In fact, travel should serve as confirmation that your decision to try biphasic sleep was a good one.
Have you considered biphasic sleep to help with jet lag?