Working & Sleeping at High Altitudes
We’re currently in Bogota working with a client, where the elevation is 2640 metres above sea level, slightly above 8300 feet. High altitude is considered as altitudes above 8000 feet, where the air pressure is lower, and the percentage of oxygen in the air is significantly reduced. This makes working and sleeping invariably difficult, especially if you have not given your body a chance to acclimatise and are suffering from altitude sickness.
Common symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, nausea and loss of appetite. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and irregular breathing are also common, creating sleep disturbances and increasing levels of fatigue.
To acclimatise adequately to our current elevation, researchers suggests that approximately two weeks is required. Now we thought we were doing it tough until we discovered ALMA – an observatory in Chile that sits at an elevation of 5050 metres above sea level, which is roughly 16,500 feet. Working at this altitude exposes people to rapid and intermittent low oxygen levels that can cause problems such as acute mountain sickness, excess production of red blood cells, brain swelling, acute pulmonary oedema and sleep disorders.
Our tips to get well adjusted so you can work (or play!) and sleep at high altitudes include:
- Arriving at least a few days earlier to acclimatise
- Keep your meals light to assist with your slower digestive system
- No strenuous exercises
- Keep hydrated and steer clear of alcohol