Sleep, Nutrition and Hydration while Traveling Around the World by Catie De Loof
If you love to travel, or fly across the world for swimming, this blog post is for you.
Managing sleep, nutrition, and hydration while traveling can be very difficult, whether you are flying domestic, overseas or changing time zones. It is easy for anyone to just grab a few coffees throughout the day to fight the jet lag or eat airport food to stay satisfied, but these are not the best options for athletes.
I recently relocated to the United Kingdom to pursue a Master’s Degree while continuing to train for Paris 2024. In doing so, I need to be vigilant in preparing for my travels back home to the states for holidays and for my upcoming competitions. Not only have do I have to travel for the latter, I have also traveled the world quite a bit so I have found some things that have worked well for me that I wanted to share.
Adjust to your new time zone
Slowly begin adjusting to the time zone. This can be going to bed an hour earlier or later depending on the location you are traveling to. Continue to add an hour everyday.
Using hydration tablets has helped play an important role while traveling. SIS or Nuun tablets are my favorite. They add flavor to the water and keep you hydrated without having to drink massive amounts of water on a plane.
It is important to get fresh air when you arrive. Whether you go for a walk or grab groceries, it helps keep the body awake and set a new rhythm. Most people tend to take a nap or fall asleep when they get to a new place after travel. It is really important to get your body moving and resist the urge to take a nap.
It is crucial to keep the body moving. Get up and walk around the plane, do a few stretches every hour, or as needed, to avoid stiffness and swollen ankles. I enjoy using my Hyper Volt while traveling.
It is important to bring your own snacks. If you happen to fall asleep on the place you might miss snacks or meals that are provided. It is smart to plan ahead and come prepared so you won’t be starving. Also, planes do not provide healthy options of foods that you are used to at home. Try to stay away from foods that will make you bloated, as you will already be traveling for a long period of time. Airport food is easy and convenient, but doing your best to stay away from it will help adjust your body more quickly.
Make sure to dress comfy and warm. Planes can get cold so it is important to be as comfortable as you can. Bring a pillow or blanket for your own comfort. I suggest an eye mask so you are able to sleep when the lights are on or the sun is out. It is also helpful to find the time zone on the plane and stay awake or sleep on their schedule. This can help you relax, allow for better sleep, and get adjusted to the time zone on your way to your destination.
Once you arrive it is crucial that you do not overuse naps. Keep your naps to 30 minutes or 1 hour and 30 minutes, at most, so your body can adjust properly. Naps can be dependent on the location and time zone you are arriving to, or left. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and caffeine as this can affect your body’s rhythm. I like to bring Melatonin tablets. I take 5mg in case I have trouble falling asleep, but that is usually not the case for me.
I hope you enjoyed my travel tips and if you have others that you have found helpful, let us know!