Many of us go on a cruise vacation looking to recharge from the daily grind. Getting plenty of GOOD sleep is an important part of coming home refreshed and rejuvenated. We asked Dr. Robert Oexman Director of the Sleep to Live Institute for his top 5 keys for getting plenty of sleep on your next cruise vacation.
5 Tips for better sleep on your cruise vacation:
1. Ear plugs: Whether you plan to sleep in late or retire early, cruise ships are busy 24 hours a day. To prevent being awaken by the late night crowd or early morning risers use ear plugs to stop the noise. If the ear plugs are uncomfortable you can usually cut them in half so they fit in the ear more comfortably.
2. Eye mask: if you have an inside state room you will not have to worry about early morning light. If you have an outside stateroom the early morning light may prevent you from sleeping in as long as you wish.
3. Pool side napping: One of the great pleasures about vacation and cruising is the ability to sleep any time you wish. Most people take advantage of our natural tendency to be sleepy after lunch to catch up on sleep that we may have lost the night before or the weeks leading up to vacation. If you have trouble sleeping at night you may want to skip on the naps during the day. Napping during the day decreases our sleep drive at night. If you find yourself getting sleepy around the pool, get up and take a quick swim or walk around the deck.
4. Alcohol: People who normally drink very little at home will see an increase in the alcohol consumption when vacationing. Alcohol will decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep but it will decrease the quality of our sleep. People who drink have very fragmented sleep but will often not remember all of the awakenings. If you are going to drink, do not drink more than one alcoholic drink per hour. Make sure and drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. The combination of alcohol and sun exposure will dehydrate you very quickly. Always quit drinking alcohol at least one hour before bed time. Do not drink caffeinated drinks to “sober you up” before bedtime. Caffeine will only add to the sleep disruption later in the night. Water is the best liquid to drink at bed time.
5. Food: The midnight buffet is always a great treat on a cruise. If you are going to enjoy the buffet make sure and eat foods that are easy to digest. Stay away from high fat foods and limit the sweets that have chocolate which contain caffeine. If spicy foods upset your stomach at normal meal times you can guarantee they will disrupt your sleep when you are trying to sleep immediately after eating from the buffet.
Have specific Questions about getting great sleep while on vacation? Please leave them in the comments.
We will continue the Cruise and Sleep subject later this week. We will get tips from Dr. Oexman about how to maximize sleep when crossing several timezones.
Dr. Robert Oexman also serves as chair of the Sleep To Live Institute’s Sleep and Wellness Board, and he received his Doctor of Chiropractic from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City, and his Master of Business Administration from Missouri State University. His graduate studies include the science of ergonomics and sleep disorders medicine and the effect they have on quality of life.