Archive for August, 2012

Musing: Sleepless in Sydney, and the pitfalls of living 24/7
August 22, 2012

Dear Readers;

I recently returned from conducting research in Sydney, Australia. I found it a lovely place to visit and work with welcoming people and a beautiful environment, where water and harbor play center stage. I was thrilled to have the experience, but it was not without challenges.

While I travel regularly for work and pleasure, this was my furthest outing and I struggled with the 25-hour (door to door) travel each way and the 14-hour difference in time zones between Sydney and back home.

 Though not a great sleeper, I’m generally pretty resilient and was stunned to find that even on the last night of my time there I only managed to get 4-hours sleep. Massage, warm bath, herb teas, meditation, relaxed breathing, eye shades, comfy hotel bedroom–nothing much seemed to help me get into Slumberland each night, though I was physically and mentally exhausted. It was en route home that I found more clarity about what was making it so hard to get my body to adapt to time “down under.”

I was living in that 24/7 clock, trying to be attentive to work and activities in Sydney and also, being in contact with my NY clients and my family back home.

I’d wake after a short couple of hours sleep and when my normal back-to-sleep routines failed, I’d look at my i-Phone by the bed, see the long list of emails waiting and would respond. From bed to phone to laptop, trying to snatch some rest if not sleep and then the cycle again and again each morning. It seems so obvious in hindsight how “dangerous” my phone had become as a trigger for mental engagement in the middle of the night!

The good part of this was that some early mornings I think my level of creativity was pretty high, as ideas were flowing out of a semi-dreamlike state to alertness. But it took a toll on me.

As I’ve returned home, the transition has been easier and swifter. Aside from the comfort of being back on my turf, I put the phone and laptop in another room and my mind is not wondering what the time is or what is going on in the land 14 time zones away.

My advice to myself and other world travelers…put the phone and laptop as far away as possible. Do not let yourself be seduced into peeking until it’s morning… wherever you are at the moment! 

I welcome hearing about others’ strategies for dealing with long distance travel.

Laurie Tema-Lyn

Practical Imagination Enterprises