This research series on how people in business and academia travel, conducted by sleep and circadian scientists, aims to highlight common struggles and strategies that people use to cope with jet lag, discomfort and scheduling.
Todd Stewart is a prominent evangelist of the term “content partnerships.” A content partnership is when a brand and a subject matter expert (often from another brand) come together to collaborate on content. Stewart is a Co-founder and the CEO of ContentPair. ContentPair’s mission is to pair vetted industry experts with popular business blogs for guest articles, podcasts, and webinars to help increase exposure and thought leadership. When Todd is not spreading the word about his new company, he is a Marketing Manager at Dispatch and an Adjunct Professor at Bryant University.
Stewart, who lives in Boston, spoke to ClockCoach about his professional and personal travel habits.
I usually travel for leisure, either weddings or vacations, but I do have a few business conferences every year on the West Coast.
I don’t mind arriving at the airport a couple hours in advance of my flight and sitting at my gate. This eliminates some of the stress from travel and I’m happy working or reading at the airport.
I can’t live without my Reisens, chewy chocolate caramel snack, and a cup of coffee pre-flight. A warm coffee is just a comfort drink even though I never drink the whole thing. I also travel with an essential oil called Thieves for antibacterial purposes. Lastly, I always need my headphones or a pair of earplugs.
The pain-points of my travel experience have to be flight delays. The lack of communication between airlines and passengers and the uncertainty of the delay is frustrating. Although, I’ve found that using Twitter to direct message with the airlines gets your answers faster than any other method. Also, going from West to East wastes so much time. I can not take the red eye (overnight flight) because I find it difficult to sleep.
I like aisle seats for the extra leg room...but not always. While I find it impossible to sleep on airlines, I’ve found that if I reserve a window seat I can lean against the plane and actually get some much needed sleep.
I never put the trays down, use the pillows or blankets offered. The only alcohol I partake in on flights is bathing myself in Purell during and after the flight.
I can usually push through the jet lag whenever I travel across multiple time zones. On my trip I usually over exert myself. I’ve noticed when I return back to Boston I’m foggy and pretty exhausted. To account for this, I usually return on a Saturday to acclimate to my new time zone so I am not completely worthless on Monday.
Advice for Todd from the Sleep and Circadian Experts at ClockCoach
Any way to ease tension pre-flight is helpful, however, we recommend staying hydrated with water as coffee is a natural diuretic. Flights have unusually low humidity levels, leaving passengers feeling dry and dehydrated. We commend Todd’s vigilance to hand washing and antibacterial cream as the trays have been shown to have high levels of bacteria.
Todd intuitively understands the general rule of thumb, factor in one hour per day for every time zone shifted. However, jet lag affects more than just our energy levels, it impacts our metabolism, immune function, hormone release and mood. Having a good jet lag strategy to offset the deleterious effects of jet lag is essential.
Stay tuned for Todd’s next travel experience with the guidance of ClockCoach.