Are you planning a trip abroad? Nothing ruins a getaway like being tired all the time. When traveling, getting enough sleep can make or break your vacation. However, resting when traveling is not an easy chore because who’d rather sleep than sight-see? Certain tactics, fortunately, can help anyone catch some Zs while traveling and arrive at their destination feeling rested.
Things like pressurized plane cabins, travel stress, noise, jet lag, and other factors can leave anyone bleary-eyed and exhausted. These events and factors are unavoidable, but a few tips can reduce their impact.
When it comes to travel, traversing two or more time zones causes your body to perceive a significant difference. Taking the necessary steps before and throughout your trip will help you get the most sleep possible while away from home.
This article discusses the different ways travel disrupts our sleep, tips to sleep better while traveling, and accessories you can carry to make the task easier.
How Does Travel Disrupt Sleep?
According to specialists, when people sleep away from home, they frequently struggle to initiate and sustain sleep. The body seeks consistency, and when you’re in a different bed, with a different room temperature, and a distinct set of noises, the brain has difficulties falling asleep.
According to a survey, lack of sleep is a significant worry for travelers, with 80 % of those surveyed reporting difficulty sleeping when they’re away from home, so you’re not alone.
Being in a new location and disrupting your usual patterns might make it difficult to relax, especially at night. According to experts, the first night of sleep is usually the worst. It’s known as the First-Night Effect, and it occurs when one-half of our brain stays awake to defend us from potential threats, which is why every random noise seems to startle you awake at the start of your trip.
We also tend to change our diets while away from home, where saltier foods, liquor, and caffeine frequently play recurring roles.
It can also take several days for the body to acclimatize to a new time zone, so we’re jet lagged and may wake up in the middle of the night and desire to sleep when it’s early afternoon.
Circadian rhythms are the innate clocks of our bodies. They are accountable for your difficulties sleeping in on Sundays, becoming exhausted as soon as the clock hits ten every night, and causing jet lag on your important work trip or big European vacation.
Tips to Sleep Better While Traveling
- Stay Hydrated: Hydration is essential when traveling. Dehydration, according to specialists, is a cause of tiredness while traveling, particularly when flying. Plane cabins can become quite dry, so drink lots of water during travel. It will not only help you sleep better, but it will also offer you more energy during the day to enjoy your planned activities.
- Go With the Flow of the Locals: As soon as you land, you’ll want to pretend you’re in your destination’s time zone, meaning that your bedtime will be later or sooner than usual. Attempt to retire to bed around 10 pm “local time.” A good rule of thumb is to follow your surroundings; if they are outside, you should also be! Yes, you’ll be strolling like a zombie on the beach, but on the bright side, it will speed up the transition.
- Follow a Sleep Schedule: Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, your itinerary is likely jam-packed. While it may be tempting to remain out until the last feasible minute to make the most of your vacation, ensure ample time to complete your typical night routine. If you regularly read for 30 minutes before bed or eat a brief snack before bed, try to stick to those routines as much as possible. Because your body is likely habituated to your normal routine, changing it may make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Move Your Body: Even if you’re on a lavish vacation, you must make time for exercise. Moving your body during the day will allow you to fall asleep more quickly at night. Consider walking to a local place rather than taking a cab if you have the opportunity. Alternatively, if your hotel has a gym, wear your sneakers and hit the treadmill. Whatever you pick, avoid exercising shortly before bed because it will most likely keep you awake, which is the reverse of what you want.
- Lower Your Alcohol/Caffeine Consumption: We know you’re on vacation, and this seems impossible. But bear with me – alcohol may help you sleep like a log at first, but research shows that it reduces total sleep quality. Furthermore, because it is a diuretic, frequent bathroom breaks will most likely disrupt your sleep. Coffee, like alcohol, can disrupt your sleep routine, which can be inconvenient when trying to readjust your schedule. Caffeine can remain in your system for up to six hours, so restrict your intake in the afternoon.
- Soak in Sunlight: The sun is the perfect calibration tool; it tells our brain when to be up and when to sleep. If the rest of the world is awake when you arrive, try to hang out in the sun as long as possible. Take walks around town, dine outside, and avoid dark places.
Travel Accessories to Help You Sleep
Whether you’re sleeping in a five-star hotel or on a friend’s couch, pack a tiny sleep survival kit including eye masks, headphones, medicines, etc. Here is a list of accessories you can carry on your next trip to get better sleep.
- Eye Mask: Whether you’re traveling in bright light or the overhead light disturbs you when sleeping, an eye mask is an amicable solution to help block out unpleasant light. Look for one lightweight, flexible, without annoying Velcro, completely blocking out all light.
- Neck Pillow: Your neck is delicate and cannot withstand too many jerks while sleeping in moving vehicles. Neck pillows provide enough support and comfort for your neck to allow you to sleep uninterrupted. A travel pillow is beneficial for grabbing a snooze on flights or cars while traveling long distances.
- Sleeping Aids: Packing your anti-snoring device, like Smart Nora and prescription sleeping tablets, may be vital if you snore or face trouble sleeping. Most sleeping aid machines do not usually count against your checked bags and you may need medical paperwork if you intend to use it on board. The best part is, you can easily travel with Nora since it comes in a compact simple-to-pack box, making it very convenient to carry – even if you are traveling light.
- Earplugs/Headphones: You never know what degree of noise to expect while traveling, from the airport to the hotel to lounging on the beach or beside the pool. This is where earphones come in, allowing you to filter sounds and helping you fall asleep more easily. Listening to relaxing music through a decent pair of noise-canceling headphones can assist if you forget your earplugs.
Say Goodbye to Travel Fatigue
Did you know that while you sleep, you preserve less energy than when you rest? So, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, don’t worry! Simply sit back and relax, aiming to rest rather than sleep because you’ll still be preserving energy and replenishing your energy stores. You’ll often discover that after you stop putting so much pressure on yourself to sleep, you’ll naturally nod off!
If you have the opposite problem and can’t stay awake, drink some coffee, wash your face, brush your teeth, and make sure you have an excellent Netflix series downloaded to keep your adrenaline levels high for a long journey!