Pathways to Sleep: I-E. From Health to Sleep–Time Zone Challenges

Pathways to Sleep: I-E. From Health to Sleep–Time Zone Challenges

Enroute Pathway

The second pathway concerns that usually brief period of time when you are traveling to your destination. While this doesn’t account for much of the time when away from home, it is often considered the most important time to either get some sleep or determine that sleep is either not possible or recommended. Let’s start with the last of these statements. Many experts suggest that we remain awake if traveling a long distance, so that we are ready for sleep in the new time zone, given that it is much earlier or much later than is the case with our home time zone. So, we stay awake in order to later fall asleep. This is a variant on the Gradualism strategy.

Or it might be the case that we simply know that it is very difficult for us to fall asleep when traveling on an airplane. We are sitting there wide awake or trying without success to fall asleep even though we are tired. We look around us and see than everyone else is sound asleep (or at least appears to be sleeping). We are annoyed with our own inability to sleep – which makes us even more aroused and unable to sleep. We given up trying to sleep and instead read, listen to music or watch a movie on the screen on the back of the seat in front of us (or on our laptop). It might be only a six to eight hour flight across one or more continents – but it seems like an eternity. We marvel at the speed the plane is recording and recognize that we are flying across many miles of land or sea – but still are impatient for the flight to end.

What is the alternative: getting some sleep! We can pay a lot of money for an upgrade to business class, where the seats miraculously fold down flat. We peer through the curtain separating economic from business and first class and see everyone appearing to be tucked in with pillow and blanket. Are they asleep? Why is this class-based society operating on my flight! Curse the upper class! Let the revolution begin! This anger, of course, only makes us less ready for our own sleep and our economy class seat feels even less comfortable and less amenable to supporting our sleep. Do I pay that extra $1,000 for a night of sleep next time? Probably not. A lot to pay for one semi-comfortable night of sleep. And I will hold off the revolution for another day or two .


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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