Posts Tagged ‘Sleep’

Sleep your Layover (or Delay) Away

December 28, 2009

This time of year, airport delays and layovers are almost impossible to avoid.  For lucky travelers heading through Concourse B at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport, you can now spend part or all of your time in one of their five Minute Suites. 

The suites are 7 x 8 foot rooms and come equipped with a daybed sofa, pillows, fresh blankets, a small desk, internet access and a flat-screen monitor with DirecTV.  Similar to the cubicles that Asian travelers use to catch a snooze between flights, the world’s largest airport is the first in the US to offer these Suites.  Other airports, like San Francisco International  are following and plan to open 14 rooms in its International Terminal sometime next year. 

The cost for an hour in one of Atlanta’s Minute Suites is $30, with each additional 15 minutes costing $7.50.  Seems a bit steep to me – but then again, if I were trapped for hours waiting for my flight it might not seem so bad.

Put Me to Sleep

September 16, 2009

Traveling overnight always means at least one sleepless night of tossing and turning, no matter how many times I’ve stayed at a hotel.  Between the change in time zones, age and stress over what the next day will bring, I often end up tossing and turning the night away only to fall into a deep slumber around 4:00 AM, leaving me craving a strong cup of coffee when I awake two hours later. 

015So in preparation for a trip where I’ll be staying at a new hotel I thought I’d do a bit of research on cures for insomnia, in the hopes that I could sleep like my new kitten – anywhere. What I found was a wide variety of ‘documented’ methods promising a long restful night of sleep.  From what to rub on your feet, to what to line your belly with, here are 6 bizarre prescriptions I found on the mental floss blog:

1. Rub Your Feet in Dormouse Fat

In Elizabethan England, people who couldn’t sleep would often rub dormouse fat onto the soles of their feet. Why dormouse and why feet has been lost to the ages, however, the dormouse has retained its snoozy image: The dormouse slept through most of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland.

2. A spoonful of Sea Slug Entrails

Most cultures have their own folk remedy, usually involving food, for putting insomniacs to sleep. I remember when I was a little girl, my mom would make me hot chocolate when I couldn’t sleep. Little girls in Japan, however, might have gotten a plate full of sea slug entrails. In France, it could have been fried lettuce and in places in the US, a raw onion.

3. Pay to Hear a Sleep Concert?fortean_times_1821_7
A new craze is sweeping Japan and while there’s always a new craze sweeping Japan, this one may offer some hope to sleepless office workers. They’re called sleep concerts: Basically, you buy a ticket to the concert, plunk yourself down in a comfy seat, and drift off. One such concert, titled “Dreams: Good Sleep Concert,” featured major Japanese musicians playing music that had been scientifically tested to induce sleep; a CD of the concert was later sold and won Japan’s 22nd annual Gold Disc Award for Best Instrumental Album of the year in 2008.

4. Ancient Ambien

Sleepless Greeks and Egyptians used opium, typically mixed with several other herbs that probably had no effect, to induce sleep. The only problem with opium is the highly addictive nature of the poppy-derived narcotic. But drugs have always played a part in helping people sleep: Cannabis, typically smoked in cigarette form, was a popular sleep aid up through the 19th century. Some, especially those in college or who maybe spent some time touring with the Grateful Dead, might say it still is. And when all else fails, there’s the time-honored tradition of drinking until you pass out.

5. Toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble

Potions have long been a part of the insomniac’s medicine cabinet. Tinctures made from valerian root, mandrake root, and lettuce seeds are a few of the debatably helpful but generally innocuous variety, whilst the Middle Ages prescription of “drinking a potion made from the gall of a castrated boar” is just gross. Incidentally, the castrated boar juice was also included in a concoction to knock victims – er, patients – about to undergo surgery in the Middle Ages as well. So many uses for castrated boar gall, who knew?

6. Carry a compass to bed with you

In the Victorian era, people tended to be interested in slightly dubious spiritualist theories, including those involving magnetic fields and their impact on human health. Charles Dickens, who suffered from insomnia and for a time, tried a combination of opium and alcohol that left him with a wicked hangover, ultimately found relief after placing the head of his bed due north.

I think I’ll stick with Ambien – it’s way easier to travel with than any of the above.