Debbie Reinders Hall on the science of good sleep when travelling

There’s nothing quite like the joy, and added benefit, of great sleep, and this is no less true when travelling. Debbie Reinders Hall ­– sleep expert and founder of The Hall Collection, exclusive importers of Swiss-produced Elite beds and Quagliotti Italian linens in Cape Town – shares with us the art of achieving healthy sleep while travelling.

“Your bed is the most important piece of furniture in your home,” says Debbie. “We know that good sleep improves mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, energy levels and quality of life. And there is a direct link between your mattress and the integrity of your sleep.”

Debbie’s journey began with her interest in better wellbeing through food. She qualified as a Cordon Bleu chef after completing school. “I’ve been fascinated not only by what we eat but by how important it is for family and friends to gather around the table and enjoy the sense of belonging and enjoyment that comes with eating together and the food being prepared with love,” she explains. She later learnt “that together with healthy food and exercise, sleep is the other key ingredient for our holistic wellbeing.”

When The Hall Collection was launched 11 years ago, the importance of sleep had not yet been fully recognised as a key component in good health. Much research has since focused on good sleep. “Arianna Huffington is one of the greatest media ambassadors for us,” says Debbie. “Her book The Sleep Revolution has led to an enormous change of how to live and work better, and the importance of getting enough good-quality sleep.”

An avid traveller, she says, “My favourite countries, apart from our own beautiful country, are France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. I never tire of the food, the old cultures and architecture.”

Here are her tips to make sure you sleep well when travelling:

Travelling in different time zones

“I like to travel with my own small shawl/blanket and eye mask. It’s important to stay hydrated while on long flights. For many, their digestion is not good while flying, which is why I prefer not to eat during a flight; I have only a light snack while in the air. Eating healthy meals that are served in the time zones I find myself in helps reduce the effects of jet lag. Our bodies have their own metabolic clocks, so when you eat regular meals in the existing time zone, it helps your body adjust faster.”

Techniques or exercises to do on long-haul flights or in different time zones

“I love Deepak Chopra’s holistic views on health. I find his evening sleep meditation to be helpful when travelling or when I’m more stressed than usual. His 7 Days to Restful Sleep programme contains a short yoga programme ­– less than 10 minutes – that I also find useful. If yoga is not for you or not possible, take a lovely walk before going to bed. A nice relaxing bath with natural essential oils can also help you relax and sleep better while traveling.”

Dietary considerations

“Eating late and heavy meals will affect the quality of your sleep. For most, drinks with caffeine will also affect your ability to wind down and sleep well.”

The Hall Collection has a large range of mattresses, and their sleep experts pair the right mattress and correct tension with clients’ physical needs and personal preferences. Layer your mattress with luxurious linens with the help of experienced in-house interior designers. Visit their Cape Town showroom.

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