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, according to a study.
A poll of 2,000 business globetrotters found more than one in five dislike being away from home.
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Struggling to eat healthily, having to work longer hours and missing out on family time are also among the disadvantages.
Others hate having to spend so long travelling to and from their destination and the disrupted sleep patterns which come with being away from home.
In fact, the study found the average business traveller loses an average of 45 minutes sleep each night while working away, getting just five hours and 13 minutes of shut-eye.
And four in five have trouble sleeping when travelling away from home.
The findings emerged in a study by hotel company IHG, which has launched a pilot scheme introducing circadian lighting to help improve sleep for guests while they are on the road.
Circadian lighting systems are designed to control the colour and intensity of the light at particular times to align with our daily cycle and assist with wellness and sleep.
Sleep expert Dave Gibson said: “Whether short or long-haul, long-stay or short-stay – travelling takes its toll on the body and mind.
“Regardless of journey time or destination, sleeping somewhere different to home is enough to disrupt your sleep.
“Our body has an internal clock, our circadian rhythm, which manages our sleep-wake cycle.
“Of all the environmental drivers of sleep including temperature, sound and food, light has the biggest single influence on our body clock.
“Simply, when we travel – this natural cycle is disrupted and it can lead us to becoming less productive – which is not ideal when we’re travelling for work.”
The study also found being in a different environment is the biggest cause of a restless night’s sleep for those travelling away from home followed by unfamiliar noises and working late.
Jet lag, trying to nod off in a new bed and the temperature of the room are also to blame.
Almost two thirds of those polled via OnePoll even stated they felt more tired when they were away from home.
To aid sleep, nearly half either try listening to music or watching TV to try and fall asleep.
More than a third take sleeping tablets and nearly a quarter use Valerian root to get a good night’s sleep.
Brian McGuinness, IHG’s senior vice president of global guest experience said: “With so many travellers experiencing sleep disruptions when they’re on the road, we want to do everything possible to make sure our guests at IHG Hotels & Resorts have a restful sleep while staying with us.”
- IHG are partnering with Lighting Science Group (LSG) to pilot circadian lighting, which allows guests to easily change from the blue-enriched spectrum which boosts energy and performance to the blue-depleted spectrum which is said to promote a more restful night’s sleep. For bookings or for more information, visit www.ihg.com
Top 10 biggest irritations about being away from home when travelling for business
- Being away from the family (42 per cent)
- Travelling to a new destination and not having time to explore it (31 per cent)
- Living out of a suitcase (29 per cent)
- Lots of time in transit (28 per cent)
- Disrupted sleep patterns due to being in a new environment (27 per cent)
- It’s hard to eat healthily (27 per cent)
- Working longer hours (24 per cent)
- Missing out on events at home (24 per cent)
- Hours spent in stuffy meeting spaces (20 per cent)
- Disrupted sleep patterns from being in different time zones (18 per cent)
Dave Gibson’s top five tips for a great night’s sleep while travelling:
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.
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.
Drink 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.
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.
- 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.