Oh, sleep… sometimes that feels like a forgotten concept in the midst of a busy season. With back to back charters, the idea of 8 consecutive hours of rest is sometimes an unachievable “dream”. Today we give out Top Tips for superyacht crew needing sleep:
Taking a melatonin supplement half an hour before bedtime can help you wind down and improve the quality of your sleep. Melatonin is a key hormone that signals to your brain that it is time to unwind and sleep. Usually, your body releases this hormone naturally towards the end of the day as you begin to wind down. However, when on a yacht charter, an evening is usually spent serving drinks, cleaning cabins or washing down right until you get the chance to go to bed. This means your body is unable to relax at the time it naturally would. Taking supplements before you go to bed is a simple and easy way to remedy this issue. Other helpful supplements are valerian (for better sleep quality) and magnesium (for muscle recovery and relaxation). You should check with your doctor before taking any new supplements or medication.
2. Limit Screen Time and Blue Light
We’ve all been there: after a long day, all we want to do is curl up in bed and binge-watch Netflix or scroll through all the social media apps that have been calling our names all day. While this is a good way to relax, it should be done so in moderation. Setting a time limit for yourself is a good way to ensure you get enough sleep while also allowing yourself some time to chill after work. I also advise wearing blue light blocking glasses or installing an app that blocks blue light onto your devices.
3. No Caffeine
Stick to decaf after lunchtime. Don’t drink caffeine for at least 6 hours before bedtime if you want a good night’s rest. While you may not feel its effects, caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for 6-8 hours after consumption. This will stimulate your nervous system, and it will prevent your body from relaxing towards the end of the day, hence ruining your chances of an early (ish) night.
4. Consistency of Sleep
Try to sleep and wake up at consistent times every day to keep your body’s circadian rhythm. As superyacht crew, this may be impossible at times, making it all the more important to focus on during your break between charters.
Exercise is incredibly beneficial for your physical and mental health. However, exercise releases hormones such as adrenaline and epinephrine, which have a stimulatory effect on the body. This can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and can affect your sleep quality. Therefore, you should aim to leave at least 3 hours between finishing physical exercise and getting ready to sleep.
6. Limit Liquid Before Bed
Everyone knows hydration is key to good health and that drinking throughout the day is necessary. However, if you want to sleep through the night, you should aim to reduce your liquid intake at least an hour before bedtime and try to use the bathroom just before you go to sleep.
Eating large meals before bed can lead to hormone disruption and poor sleep quality, so choose a smaller snack instead. Some studies have shown that a carb-based snack is best for helping you fall asleep.
8. Optimise Your Bedroom Environment
My final tip for getting good sleep on board is this: your bedroom environment should be optimised for sleep. Try eliminating light from outside with a blackout screen over your porthole or by drawing your curtains. Get rid of disruptive noise by investing in some earplugs or a white noise machine. Small changes like these can make all the difference.
Sleep plays such a key role in one’s overall health. Where possible, prioritise good quality sleep, even if the hours may not be as long as you hope for.
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