Why business trips are a good opportunity to catch up on sleep
When I travel for business I usually manage to catch up on sleep. It has always bothered my husband that I can sleep anywhere, anytime because he can't. As much as I love a flatbed when flying I actually don't need one to sleep the entire flight.
At least once a fortnight I do the Sydney-Melbourne shuffle as Private Media's head office and my Crikey team are in Melbourne and I am based in Sydney. I generally grab a nap on the way up and on the way back, sitting entirely upright. I close my eyes the minute the doors close and open them when we're allowed to use our iPads.
On long haul flights I have been known to sleep the entire way. I'm not exaggerating. I once flew to New York with a colleague for business. We were fortunate to be flying business class with flatbeds. I slipped into my Qantas pyjamas as soon as the plane was in the air, then pushed the seat back and slept until I was woken for breakfast as we were about to land in LA. I had been asleep, in a deep sleep, for at least 12 hours. The flight attendant was concerned that I would be completed dehydrated so she brought a couple of bottles of water for me to drink. I then proceeded to sleep for most of the LA to New York flight too.
Strangely, I'm not a person who generally needs a lot of sleep. I rarely fall asleep before midnight and my alarm goes off at 6am. I have no trouble getting to sleep when I finally close my iPad and turn the light off. It's just that I have so much to do that I never get it all done before midnight.
My sleep is deep and meaningful. The only sounds that can stir me from my slumber are those made by my sons. That's such a strange phenomenon. From the time my children were born I have been tuned into their breathing, coughing, nightmares but I don't hear my husband getting into our bed when he arrives home from work after I have fallen sleep.
I love sleeping and indulge in afternoon naps if there is time on the weekends. Maybe it's my body's way of slowing me down because when I'm awake I am always on the go. Sleep recharges me but it's often when I am sleeping that I think up the next big idea. I used to sleep with a notepad beside my bed to write down my thoughts as soon as I woke up, before I could forget them. Now I use the notepad on my iPhone.
My phone also doubles as my alarm clock, although my body clock is so used to waking at 6am that my eyes automatically spring open at that time anyway. The beauty of a business trip is that I can usually find another hour at least for sleep, sometimes more.
I have been traveling for business for so many years that I have it down pat. If I am traveling to an international destination then I will allocate a few hours to a bit of shopping and sight-seeing. But I will choose sleep over evening entertainment if I can. There is nothing more joyous than returning to a hotel room, ordering room service, catching up on the day's news with CNN and then going to sleep. It's my idea of a good evening on a business trip.
Do you find that you never seem to get enough sleep? What do you do to catch up?
Marina Go is GM of Hearst-Bauer, publisher of Harper's Bazaar, ELLE and Cosmopolitan. She is also chair of the Wests Tigers, a director of Odyssey House McGrath Foundation and a member of the advisory boards of the Walkley Foundation, The Remarkables Group and Women's Agenda. She has an MBA from The AGSM and is a member of the AICD.