Monday, 30 November 2015

The Frequent Flyer Guide to Beating Jet Lag

Farewell Jet Lag, Cures from a Flight Attendant
Farewell Jet Lag, Cures from a Flight Attendant
At a time when globalisation and technology make the world smaller; when it really matters, nothing beats being there yourself. In business and in pleasure presence is where it's at but you can't fly halfway around the world and be fully present if you're jet-lagged.

Solving the challenges of jet lag requires mastering the challenges of flying frequently and doing it well repeatedly without burnout or doing any harm to yourself so you can arrive fresh and ready for whatever the journey may hold. This book is an ultimate guide for you to do it the right way. Written from experience and a true interest in developing a healthy conversation about jet lag from an aviation insider.

Available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and all good book stores. 
Find out more here

Wherever You Go P.H.A.R.E. Well 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Guest Blog - Don't Let the Long Haul Flight Take Away from Your Wellness Holiday

We all want to make the most of our holidays,
here are some tips you will find useful to do just that,
please add your own and share -

Travel tips for healing holidays

Retreat - Relax - Refocus

2015 is nearly done !


Friday, 11 September 2015

Travel Wellness - Why Companies and Traveling Employees Need to Know the Difference from Corporate Wellness

Corporate wellness is a hot topic with healthcare costs rising, and rates for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity increasing. In fact, corporate wellness services have exploded into a $2 billion industry.

Corporate wellness programs focus on reducing employer healthcare costs by encouraging employees to make healthy lifestyle choices. Incentives, in-house facilities, and education are the key components of corporate wellness programs. Incentives include rewards for employees participating in a wellness program, achieving certain health outcomes or metrics, or progress towards desired health outcomes such as, a targeted blood pressure, cholesterol, weight or body mass index (BMI) reading. These incentives or rewards include reduced insurance premiums, cash/gift cards, or contributions to health savings accounts.

While corporate wellness programs tend to focus on promoting general healthy lifestyle choices, they don’t specifically address the unique environment of business travelers—the regular aircraft, car, train, hotel, and restaurant environment that change the dynamics and negatively impact the business traveler if not properly managed. If cost savings is the name of the game in corporate wellness then perhaps a closer look at corporate business travel is needed.

The cost of corporate wellness programs is estimated to increase to $594 per employee as employers recognize the importance of investing in preventative health initiatives.

$594 is often less than one round-trip domestic or international airline ticket

2 times more than the average daily US travel per diem, and 1.6 times the average international daily travel per diem

Less than the $662 of financial costs due to travel related stress per trip.

Corporate Business Travel Environment

Corporate business travel, on the other hand, is a $274 billion industry because business success requires travel.[i] There are an estimated 30 to 40 million business travelers in the US alone. Nearly 30 percent of the American working adult population is at much higher risk for cancer and overall poor health simply because travel is part of their job description and business travel increases a person’s physical stress load by about 12 percent.[ii] In addition to the health risks, frequent business travelers experience 20 percent less productivity due to jet lag.

Business travelers often have less time to recover from travel related stress, which leads to “brain fog” and near-term and long-term illness.  For pilots and cabin crew jet lag or fatigue results in safety risks. Type A personalities may not want to admit that criss-crossing time zones to close multi-million dollar deals exacts a toll on every aspect of their functioning from judgment and decision-making, to reaction time, and ability to communicate.

In Travel Stress Index: The Hidden Costs of Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit concluded that business travelers lose an average of 6.9 hours due to travel related stress, and that the financial cost of such loss of time amounts to $662 per trip. The 22 factors they measured were mostly logistical such as time to get to the airport, clearing immigration, lack of Internet service, flying economy, and delays. The #1 time and financial drain is associated with lost baggage. [iii]

But what about the health of the business traveler?

AirPlus International, the leading travel payment services company, conducted a travel wellness survey, or what they call a traveller productivity study, on their traveling employees to address the health impact of travel related stress. The study revealed that business travelers get on average 21 minutes less sleep then non-business travelers, which leads to 12 percent less stress-related recovery time, which lowers productivity and increases the risk of illness and disease. Twenty-one minutes of lost sleep may not seem like a lot, but physiologically it is wreaking havoc on these travelers.[iv]

The business traveler is subject to a different environment than the non-travelling employee. This unique environment includes dehydration in an aircraft cabin traveling at a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, time zone changes, limited physical activity, suboptimal sleep environments, and predominantly unhealthy food options. This makes the business traveler population unique when it comes to thinking about individual and corporate wellness programs.

How is travel wellness different from general wellness?

Frequent business travel is a lifestyle fostered by the employer. This is perhaps the number one difference from the lens of a corporate wellness program. Through corporate wellness programs employers try to manage general lifestyle and health habits that are often outside the workplace, even though more people are spending more time working at the office or remotely then ever before.

Corporate wellness programs assume that people have control over their environment and can engage in routine activities. Frequent business travelers have the exact opposite of a routine lifestyle. They are constantly on the go, which creates lack of certainty around diet and exercise habits. Even if employees travel regularly, there is nothing routine about sleeping in different beds, and different times and within different time zones, and inevitable delays that derail the best laid intentions and plans. Travelers feel the most stressed in situations they can’t control. Frequent business travel is a lifestyle for which many people are unprepared. Travel wellness is not part of business, MBA, or any other university training that prepares people for the workforce.

How does a travel wellness program differ from a corporate wellness program?

The major difference between a corporate wellness program and a travel wellness program is the operating environment. Travel wellness focuses on specific travel-related environments that physically impact employees, encourage certain behaviors such as unhealthy eating choices, limit quality sleep, and increase the average physical stress load of individuals under normal working conditions. See Table 1.
By requiring frequent travel, employers are creating the environment for negative health consequences, unless they proactively help employees manage it. A travel wellness program can be a subset of a corporate wellness program if one already exists. Individual departments, such as sales, IT, and product development with large travel budgets and numerous traveling employees can also implement a travel wellness program. While individuals can undertake their own travel wellness planning, companies will reap the rewards of rolling out a company-wide travel wellness program.
A travel wellness program has three parts:
  1. This includes eating right on the road, exercise, increasing energy, healthy flying, sleep, stress management, self-care, and immune system strengthening.
  2. Much like health metrics for corporate wellness programs, there are specific metrics that measure the health of the business traveler and her ability to manage the travel-related stress to reduce risk of illness and disease. Incentives are focused on an employee’s antioxidant score, which measures immune system strength, body alkalinity, which measures an employee’s ability to neutralize the physical effects of a dehydrated aircraft environment, and heart rate, which measures physical stress load and ability to recover from travel-related stress. The incentives can be similar to those already offered by corporate wellness programs such as reduction in insurance premiums, contribution to health savings plans, and gift cards to healthy places or products for meeting these baseline metrics. More specifically, a travel wellness incentive can include a new travel expense category such as a reimbursed exercise studio day pass (including yoga and Pilates). A really progressive company may even tie the incentives to vacation time.
  3. The easiest way for employees to adopt travel wellness best practices is for employers to provide them with a list of recommended or preferred restaurants, hotels, or airlines that support travel wellness objectives and meet company expectations and travel wellness criteria for healthy food, exercise, and stress and sleep management.
During the Great Recession, many companies required employees to do more with less and increased workloads and stress. A travel wellness program will also need to look at the demands and expectations placed on business travelers in addition to the unique travel environment to be comprehensive.
If corporate business travel is more than 200 times the size of corporate wellness, then a travel wellness program should provide more than 200 times the cost savings.

For more information on travel wellness visit www.gbtwa.com

The Difference Between Corporate Wellness and Travel Wellness
Corporate WellnessTravel Wellness
Environment: more routine between home and office or employees who telecommute.Environment: dynamic, constantly changing. The aircraft environment for example is unique and causes physical stress.
Incentives are focused on rewards for participating in a wellness program, achieving certain health outcomes or metrics, or progress towards desired health outcomes such as, a targeted blood pressure, cholesterol, weight or body mass index (BMI) reading. These incentives or rewards include reduced insurance premiums, cash/gift cards, or contributions to health savings accounts.Incentives are focused on specific travel related defenses such as immune system strength which can be measured by an antioxidant score) and alkalinity which measures ability to manage a dehydrated aircraft environment, or heart rate which measures physical stress load. Incentives can also be created for enrolling in a travel wellness coaching program.
In-house facilities such as gyms, meditation rooms, yoga studio.Recommendations for hotels, airlines and restaurants that support travel wellness objectives.
Education that promotes healthy lifestyle choices—eating habits, exercise, stress management, etc.Education on travel wellness choices—eating habits, exercise, increasing energy, healthy flying, stress management, self-care, strengthening immune system.
Cost: per employeeCost of corporate travel: per trip
 Source: Global Business Traveler Wellness Associates

 About the Authors

Christopher: Christopher Babayode is an expert in healthy flying as the “Go To Person” for healthy jet lag solutions for frequent fliers. Having logged over 15,000 flying hours over 16 years with British Airways – an airline with one of the most extensive networks in the world. As a flight attendant, frequent flier, nutritional therapist and British Airways Wellbeing and Inclusions Advisor Christopher’s expertise comes from the practice of nutritional therapy and hands on knowledge of working with frequent fliers in the aviation industry on long and short haul for over a decade.

Natasha L├ęger is an international trade attorney turned global strategy consultant to start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. She is Founder and President of ITF Advisors, a strategy advisory firm and co-Founder and Editor of LBx  Journal,  a location intelligence magazine. Natasha is passionate about living a healthy, happy life while being a road warrior, and is author of Travel Healthy: A Road Warrior’s Guide to Eating Healthy.

Jayne McAllister combines over 20 years of business travel with her passion for teaching long-lasting healthy habits to frequent travelers. Jayne has appeared on Fox News Channel and ABC in her capacity as a travel wellness expert, as well as in numerous magazines and on national radio.  She is the founder of the Business Travel Wellness Conference; creator of dineoutloseweight.com and an ambassador for maiden-voyage.com. Jayne graduated from Cambridge University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

[i] 2014 Business Travel Survey, Business Travel News, May 26, 2014, p.22.
ii Catherine A. Richards, Andrew G. Rundle. Business Travel and Self-rated Health, Obesity, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2011;
[iii] Travel Stress Index: The Hidden Costs of Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, 2013.
[iv] AirPlus Traveller Productivity, Whitepaper, December 3, 2013.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Dreaming of Sleep at 36,000ft

Dreaming of Sleep (Business Traveller magazine Oct 14) opens with a statement and a question "We all have ways of dealing with jet lag, but what are the long-term effects of sleep deprivation and how are travel companies trying to help?" It states a widely held belief about jet lag, and implies sleep deprivation equals jet lag. Sleep deprivation does not equal jet lag but it is a very important issue for frequent business fliers, on that we can agree. While the article makes interesting reading on account of the snapshot it gives about sleep, research and the business flier, to my mind the subject of frequent flying and sleep need to be looked at anew.

The article quotes a source which says HR departments of top companies now recognise the link between stress, sleep and productivity. This is a step in the right direction, however the more important question is how does this link become a challenge the individual wants to accept? Let's face it, most people's memory of being told when to go to sleep dates back to childhood and those days are long gone. Pulling all nighters to get the job done and not being able to sleep when you want to because of time change can become a way of life for intensive fliers. Because the effects of sleep deprivation are not always immediately apparent we tend to take our chances. In today’s world the distractions are endless and there is always a new justification to survive on less sleep. The times we live in say this is not about to change any time soon so, what we need are better tools to deal with the problem. I like to think of these tools collectively as Sleep Technology, by Sleep Technology I mean a methodical approach to ensure you always sleep well when you travel. This approach includes but is not limited to the sleep gadgets and such mentioned in the article. More on this later.

Before we get to what Sleep Technology is it is interesting to note other events happening around the subject of sleep which may be of interest to business fliers. Arianna Huffington's recent book Thrive talks about a turning point in her life that caused her to redefine success on her own terms. It came when Arianna collapsed from exhaustion and hit her head on her desk and needed stitches. We all need to look at our success in terms of our well being as much as anything else. An Airbus Industrie research paper determined that the optimum seat pitch for half decent rest in the economy cabin is 18 inches minimum. It is great to see this implemented on newer Airbus aircraft. Innovative companies like Google who prize productivity and creativity have sleep pods at the office. It's time to take power napping seriously as a productivity tool especially if getting quality sleep is challenging.

The article goes on to looks at the explosion of gadgets and tech available in pursuit of a good nights sleep. It highlights the good role technology has to play when it comes to sleep. Looking at the variety of options may prompt you to ask how we ever managed a good nights sleep before technology? One answer is that our sleep environment has changed a lot since then and while technology has some good answers it is also partly to blame. Neuroscience and Chronobiology research has revealed the effect different hues of light have on our sleep and wake cycles. The modern habit of turning night into day with light, be it a switch or a backlight from a computer screen impedes the hormonal cascade governing natural restful sleep. This includes the pillow tech apps (mentioned in the article) which need to be accessed from a screen. Disruptions like this are known to shut off melatonin secretion, a key component for good sleep.

A plus about the technology available is that there are so many tools at your disposal to get a handle on the challenge, its all about the feedback and how you interpret it. The best advice has to be to use these gadgets with caution, but get the basics right first. What other tools do we have at our disposal to help us habitually get a good night sleep? This is where Sleep Technology comes into its own. Sleep Technology is simply sleep know-how, I know it sounds absurd but we clearly haven’t got this right. It seems we have forgotten some basic knowledge about how we function best in the cut and thrust of 21st century living. Sleep Technology is about preserving and updating this know-how for the times we live in.

To state the obvious we need to go back to basics when it comes to sleep and the sleep environment is key in this respect. It's not just about removing distractions like TVs and electronics from the sleeping space. It is about creating optimal external and internal environments for sleep. This includes the sleep space and the biochemistry of the sleeper, moreover we want to accomplish this elegantly, so drugs and stimulants are off-limits.It's about knowing how to create optimal conditions for sleep when the situation presented to you is not ideal. The more you can control or influence the environments the better chance you have of getting a good nights sleep. How do you do this, what are the basics you need to know or get reacquainted with?

Total darkness - Did you know that sensing light in the head does not require you to have your eyes open? Bedside clocks and flashing LED displays should be avoided for this reason.
The Goldilocks Principle - Not too hot and not too cold. Did you know that body temperature is the last marker to adjust to complete a phase shift when transmeridian travel is undertaken? As a frequent flier this mechanism can sometimes wake you up in the middle of the night.Remedy, throw off the covers and allow you body temperature to go back down again, everything else being equal you will soon find yourself nodding back off to sleep again.
Silence - Noise is one of the most sensitive basics you need to pay attention to, its not just the obvious noise from the next room but white noise coming from the air conditioning or refrigeration in the hotel room and aircraft engines. If you fly a lot a pair of quality noise cancelling headphones is a must.
The Dawn Reset Hack - Did you know that dawn exposure to sunlight is when you can get the best entrainment benefit to put you in sync with local time? You can use it to your benefit or if you want to remain on home time this is the time to avoid sunlight and keep the home entrainment pattern.
The Exercise Reset Hack - Did you know that aerobic exercise to raise core temperature is a way of resetting your body clock. As I mentioned above body temperature is the last phase shift marker to signify adjustment to a new time zone. Preliminary research in mice suggests this is also beneficial to the tone of the body clock and delaying the aging process.
The Light Hack - Light is the strongest entrainer of our body clock. While the blue/white light spectrum is responsible for keeping us alert, the red light spectrum is useful for relaxing us and thus facilitate sleepiness. You can buy therapeutic light boxes with this spectrum of light for home use. Think about it when the sun goes down at dusk what spectrum of light is it? Its natures way of telling us its time to get ready for bed.

A quote from the article says “Sleep is still the most under-rated performance enhancer out there”, while this may be true what is harder to get across is that all the gadgets and technology count for nothing without us recognising we are in marathon and not a sprint. I heard a recurring question on Arianna Huffington’s Thrive book tour (by the twenty and thirtysomethings) was what is wrong with burning the midnight oil and sacrificing everything to make an impact in their chosen field? The hurry up and make it crowd just won’t wait.