Episode 44 Jet Lag Hacks and the Science of Sleep with Expert Rebecca Robbins

Sleep Scientist and the co-author of Sleep for Success, Dr. Rebecca Robbins, has dedicated her life to researching sleep. She’s a frequent guest on TV shows such as The Today Show and CBS This Morning and has been featured in the New York Times, Financial Times, and Readers’ Digest. She worked as a “Sleep Consultant” for the Benjamin Hotel in New York, where she implemented a pillow menu and power nap kit for guests, and she also partners with the hotel brand Sonesta to offer guests a variety of ways to improve their sleep.

Together with Melissa, Dr. Robbins dives into the science behind sleep and reveals her fascinating research findings. She shares applicable techniques for improving sleep both at home and while traveling, and explains various methods to evade the dreaded jet lag. Melissa and Dr. Robbins also explore the exciting future of sleep tourism, as well as how we can learn better sleep practices from other cultures (including her experience with hygge in Scandinavia).

Melissa ends the episode with her personal tips for mastering jet lag after decades of international travel and long flights.

Lightning Round with Rebecca:

  • What’s your sleep routine before on an overnight flight? If I have to fly overnight, I try to choose a healthy, early dinner at home or the airport, then board the plane with the intention of falling asleep. I change into comfy clothes, put in ear plugs, put on an eye mask, and advise the flight attendant that I will not need a meal. 
  • Thoughts on eating on flights? If flying overnight, I will try to resist the in-flight meal, because dinner service will not start until an hour or so after takeoff, which will then need to be digested, which may further delay and reduce the amount of time you have to sleep. 
  • Are there any other items that you always travel with – sleep related or otherwise? I try to pack a few things that remind me of home, like a cozy scarf, that I can wear at my destination but that can also double as a small blanket/eye covering on the plane
  • What’s your one piece of advice to help traveler’s with jet lag? Spend as much time outdoors as possible and wherever possible exercise outdoors. The combination of fresh air and sunlight can dramatically accelerate our transition to a new timezone. 
  • What are some of your favorite hotels around the world for top-quality sleep experiences? Hotels are increasingly waking up to the importance of providing guests with an excellent sleep experience. I always look for a hotel that communicates guest sleep as a top priority when traveling to a new destination. Sleep will allow me to get the most out of my trip, so I want to make sure I am in good hands.  
  • What’s one thing you do every night to help ensure a good night’s sleep? I try to consciously focus on at least one good thing from my day and specifically the people and things that were positive and how they made me feel. Focusing on happy, concrete memories can help transport us and prepare us for sleep. 
  • What’s the one habit that most often contributes to poor sleep or a myth that is actually bogus? One of the most common myths is that a ‘good sleeper’ will fall asleep right away. It takes even the well-rested person 15-20 minutes to fall asleep. Falling asleep really is a process and is not immediate, which is a helpful mindset when approaching bedtime. Building in tiny habits that ritualize the time before bed, whether its a warm shower, reading a few pages in a book, these rituals go a long way toward improving our ability to fall asleep and wake up refreshed.

Tune in live: July 20, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET

Tune in every Thursday at 12:00 p.m. ET, Channel 132 on SiriusXM Business Radio or listen wherever you download podcasts. Plus, click here to subscribe to SiriusXM for free

indagare venice courtesy indagare

Interested in our virtual travel experiences?