Sleeping while travelling isn’t always easy. You’re in a strange place, away from your bed and usual home comforts, and you may even be operating in a different time zone than whatever you’re used to. It’s no wonder that it’s so common for people to end up sleep deprived when they’re exploring the world.
The good news is that you don’t have to be stuck with a reduced sleeping schedule while you travel. All you need to do is make sure that you’re prepared. The following tips will help you to keep your internal body clock on track.
1. Plan Your Sleep Schedule
Your internal clock needs consistency and regularity. That means that if you’re only on vacation for a couple of days, it’s best to stick to your standard patterns as much as possible. If you’re vacationing in a place with a vastly different time zone, or you’re away for a while, however, it might be a good idea to start adjusting your sleeping patterns before you go away.
Whatever you do, give yourself plenty of time to rest each night by setting a time to go to bed and wake up. Once you have your routine in mind, stick to it as much as you can, but don’t pressure yourself to fall asleep too fast.
2. Replicate your Home Environment
It can be really difficult to settle into a new environment when you’re used to your bed and the comforts that you have at home. Consider packing a few items from your home routine that you can take with you, like a favourite pair of PJs, or a spray that you always keep around for your pillows. Packing your favourite pillow might even be a good idea.
If you’re visiting a noisy city and you come from a quiet town, a white noise machine or some earplugs might help you to fall asleep faster too.
3. Be Prepared for Distractions
Even if you’re used to a little bit of noise back home, it’s worth noting that there are likely to be more distractions keeping you awake when you’re on vacation. There might be people walking around outside of your hotel, or unexpected noises like the sound of an elevator, or creaks that you’re not used to. If you’re concerned about these distractions, an eye mask and earplugs will come in handy.
It’s also worth downloading some of your favourite tunes onto your phone, so you can listen to the music that relaxes you when it’s time to go to sleep each night.
4. Plan for Jet Lag
As much as you might be eager to go and enjoy some great family time with your loved ones when you arrive in your new destination, it’s important to remember that you’re likely to feel sickly and jetlagged when you get to wherever you’re going to be. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to overcome your feelings of jet lag. For instance:
- A 16 hour fast can help to reset your sleep schedule according to a 2008 report. Try not eating anything for 16 hours before your new breakfast time
- Manipulate some light: To re-set your schedule, remember to expose yourself to plenty of light in the morning when you arrive at your destination.
- Try some supplements: Melatonin and other sleep-boosting supplements might help you to regain good sleeping patterns when you’re travelling
5. Don’t Oversleep
If you’re travelling for vacation reasons, then you might be tempted to sleep more than you usually do to try and “catch up” on the sleep that you miss when you’re at home. However, this can mess your sleeping rhythm up even more. Not only are you sleeping at different times in the day, but now you’re sleeping for longer than your body is used to as well!
Try to stick to the same general duration of sleep that you normally get and avoid having too many naps during the day. This will help to keep your rhythms on track.
6. Keep Up with Sleep Hygiene
Just because you’re travelling around the world doesn’t mean that your sleep hygiene practices should go on vacation too. Try to stick to the same basic rules for healthy sleeping such as:
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible and avoiding exposure to LEDs and blue lights
- Maintain a cool bedroom (the body needs to be cool for sleep)
- Follow your routine (like taking a hot bath or shower before bed)
- Limit exposure to electronics before you go to bed
- Make sure that you don’t eat too much before you’re due to go to sleep
Remember that it’s also a good idea to get plenty of exercise during the day to help with your sleeping patterns too. Finding family activities to partake in will help with this. Just try not to drift off to sleep too soon after your workout.
7. Stay Hydrated
Finally, while it’s tempting to load up on coffee and energy drinks when you’re feeling tired after travelling, exposure to caffeine can make your circadian issues even worse. Instead, it might be better to stick to plenty of refreshing water to keep you awake and hydrated throughout the day.
If you do have coffee, try to avoid drinking any after midday to stop it from interfering with your sleeping patterns later.
There you have it – plenty of great ways to avoid sleep deprivation while you travel – which tips are your favourites?
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