Hacking the impact of business travel on mental and physical health

How much time do you spend working away, staying in hotels? There is a strong correlation between how much time people spend away on business and their risk of mental and physical health issues.

A study published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine found a correlation between high levels of business travel and the likelihood that the business person will suffer from chronic stress and / or physical issues such as back pain, hypertension, asthma and sleep problems.

It's easy to eat badly and not exercise when you are regularly working away from home, staying in hotels on expenses
It’s easy to eat badly and not exercise when you are regularly working away from home, staying in hotels on expenses

And an analyses of health risk appraisal surveys conducted at a large multinational corporation found that international business travel was associated with higher alcohol consumption, lower confidence in keeping up with the pace of work, and lower perceived flexibility in fulfilling commitments.

The research suggests that this is a combination of poor “staying away” habits such as diet and alcohol, and a lack of sleep hygiene due to hotel often being poor places in which to get a good night’s sleep.

To help, companies should make employees aware that business travel can predispose them to making poorer health decisions.

And support them by having a policy for selecting hotels with exercise facilities and menus offering balanced meals.

Additionally, education on good sleep hygiene is essential.

For the regular traveller, a ball of blutack is essential for covering up the many LED light sources that affect sleep quality, and it’s also worth investing in good ear plugs.

Blutack is the best friend of the seasoned traveller. It allows you to block the myriad LEDs in a hotel room that contribute to making it such a bad place to get sleep
Blutack is the best friend of the seasoned traveller. It allows you to block the myriad LEDs in a hotel room that contribute to making it such a bad place to get sleep

You can find out more about sleep hygiene on our dedicated sleep hacking page.

Further Reading

B Liese, K A Mundt, L D Dell, L Nagy, and B Demure, Medical insurance claims associated with international business travel, 1997, Journal of Occupational Medicine
B Liese, K A Mundt, L D Dell, L Nagy, and B Demure, Medical insurance claims associated with international business travel, 1997, Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine
#stress #resilience #leadership #lifehacks #nexus8

Matt

Experienced business leader, mentor and coach, with fascinations for technology, psychology and ancient philosophies. A self-confessed techno hippy with a unique talent for bringing the best out in people.

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