Are you ready for SLEEP 2022 in Charlotte?
The excitement of preparing for in-person shows is hard to replicate. Whether your focus for the meeting is education, learning about ground-breaking research in sleep medicine, getting the scoop on the latest technology, or networking and connecting with fellow sleep professionals, there’s so much planning that goes into making sure your time at the conference is well spent.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many advantages to virtual meetings. After all, who wouldn’t prefer wearing pajamas with their own mug of coffee and their pet by their side over a suit and conference coffee for those educational sessions. Not to mention the ability to do jumping jacks to get re-energized during long virtual meetings. However, most people we’ve talked to are excited about the prospect of meeting with professionals face to face, sharing a cup of coffee or meal with colleagues, and physically walking around the exhibit hall to both check out the latest products and services and shake a few hands.
As a team, we’ve attended hundreds of conferences around the country. And we’ve learned a few lessons along the way regarding what’s critical to making a show successful, as well as a few things to avoid. To help you get the most out of your experience at SLEEP 2022, we’ve compiled a list of our top four tips:
1. Wear Good Shoes
And by good, I mean shoes you can wear standing on your feet all day. Sure you’ll get to sit down for sessions and the occasional cup of coffee with a colleague, but you’ll be walking and standing, A LOT. The last thing you want to think about during the day is your achy, blister-ridden feet.
For some relief, bring multiple pairs of shoes to give your feet a break after conference hours (flip flops or Birkenstocks are my favorite to let my toes breathe) as well as Foot Glide, which is amazing! Use this preventive salve on your toes, heels, or wherever your foot rubs against your shoes. Also, stock up on bandaids, antibiotic ointment, and consider bringing a baggie of epsom salt to give your feet a nice soak before bed. Don’t forget pain reliever to soothe those aches and pains. It might also come in handy if you happen to stay up a bit later than planned.
Take care of your feet at in-person shows, so they don’t slow you down as you keep up with your busy schedule!
2. Create a Schedule
The SLEEP 2022 agenda is jam packed with sessions and CE opportunities. Between great speakers, networking events, and getting around to all the booths in the trade show room, it can be challenging to fit everything you want to address in the few days we’re all in Charlotte. The best way to avoid missing out? Set up a schedule before the event.
Identify the top 3 sessions you can’t miss. Here are our a few on our calendars for each day this year:
- Sunday: Sleep Matters for Women’s Health – 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Sunday: Understanding the Role of Structural Racism and Discrimination in Sleep Disparities – 3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
- Monday: Pediatrics: Sleepless Children – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Monday: More Than Mindfulness: Addressing Sleep, Fatigue, and Burnout in Sleep Medicine Professionals – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Tuesday: Smart Sleep: A Guide to Choosing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Solutions for Clinical Practice – 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- Tuesday Tech Track: Artificial Intelligence and Sleep – 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
- Wednesday: Evaluation and Management of Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disturbances to Improve Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias – 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- Wednesday: How New and Emerging Technologies will Shape the Future of Sleep and Circadian Medicine – 3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Equally important is scheduling some personal time to refresh. This might just be having a fun lunch with a colleague so you can flip your brain off for a few minutes. A few local coffee shops near the grounds might be needed for a break from the hustle and bustle. Yelp suggests these as the top local spots for coffee or tea in Charlotte: Not Just Coffee, Queen City Grounds, Night Swim Coffee, and Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee. Your hotel will undoubtedly have great recommendations as well.
And finally, make sure you have some time set aside for a few evening activities, like a fun event with your favorite vendor. These after-hours events allow for longer conversations, more follow-up questions, and a good laugh or two, as well.
By adding your events and sessions to your calendar early in the planning process, you can also identify when you have time to meet new people and catch up with old friends.
3. Make Plans to Network
Don’t leave the opportunity to establish important connections to chance! Reach out to people you want to connect with at the conference weeks in advance.
Are you looking for a mentor, or would you like to mentor someone? Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you admire and ask for time to get together. Do you need advice or suggestions for overcoming a professional challenge or something you’re struggling with in your sleep lab? Things change so quickly in our field and having time to talk about what is working for other clinicians and in other sleep labs is one way we can continue to help each other advance how we approach healthcare.
Since everyone has to eat, scheduling coffee or lunch with a colleague is often the go-to time to get together. However meal time appointments can fill up on someone’s calendar pretty fast. Get creative and think of different ways to get that coveted face-time with a key professional.
If you’re both attending the same lecture, walk and sit together so you can share insights and takeaways. Do you both work out? Meet up for a run or walk to collaborate and exchange ideas. Are you traveling from the same city, at the same time, or staying at the same hotel? Share a walk or ride to and from the convention center or airport.
Be proactive in reaching out and scheduling time together so you can make the most of the opportunity to build relationships. And be on the lookout for those opportunistic chance encounters as well!
4. Take Care of Yourself
When traveling, it can be tempting to indulge in foods and beverages that you don’t normally consume in your typical day at home. Likewise, it’s easy to get off schedule and stay up later than you normally would or forgo that morning workout routine, resulting in reduced sleep and feeling less than 100%.
Try to maintain your usual schedule and diet as much as possible, while still allowing yourself to take advantage of some of the atypical opportunities that come up. Instead of working out every morning, set a goal for exercising every other day so you can stay up a little later one night to catch up with a colleague. If you’d rather not workout in your hotel’s fitness room, here’s a 20-minute workout to try in your hotel room from Nerd Fitness.
Stick to your normal breakfast and lunch diet so you can enjoy that special meal at night. Drink lots of water and avoid too much caffeine and alcohol. If you go out for drinks with colleagues, alternate drinking water and alcoholic or sugary drinks.
Being away from home and your daily routine can be exciting, but it’s also exhausting upon your return to your usual home and work schedule if you don’t take care of yourself.
See you at SLEEP 2022 and other In-Person Shows in 2022!
We hope these tips will help you get the most out of your time at SLEEP 2022. And if you’re looking to connect with someone at EnsoData while in Charlotte, I can say with certainty that “we’d love to!”
Simply reach out to us at email@example.com or stop by our booth #135 in the exhibit hall to chat. We look forward to seeing you at all the in-person shows you attend this year.