Tips for sleeping better while traveling

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Sometimes it’s hard enough to get a good night’s sleep at home. When we travel, it can seem even more difficult. What to do to finally fall asleep and stay asleep?

Just because we’re away from home doesn’t mean we have to go sleepless wherever we travel. Here are some tips for resting up to get the most out of your trip.

Why is it difficult to sleep while traveling?

Photo by Andrew Davey

If you are on a long flight, train or car journey that extends into the night, we can easily understand how and why jet lag occurs. That airplane, train, or car seat probably wasn’t designed primarily for sleeping. The environment can be particularly noisy and bright. The occasional turbulence doesn’t help either.

If you’re camping outdoors, there’s the whole question of adapting to the outdoor environment and having the right gear to feel comfortable with. Even if you’re in a hotel or a vacation rental, it’s still a different environment that your body has to adapt to. Luckily, we have solutions at hand that can help make that home away from home feel more like a restful home.

What can we do to get some sleep?

A bed in a hotel room.
Photo by Andrew Davey

If you’re preparing for a trip of three or more days, try moving your bedtime forward at least an hour earlier, starting three days before you leave. It may also be helpful to start taking melatonin at your preferred bedtime in the time zone you are venturing into. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you sleep, and long trips can throw off your circadian rhythm, as noted by experts at Johns Hopkins University and the National Sleep Foundation, so extra melatonin can help. restore your internal balance.

Once you reach your destination, try to get some natural light as soon as you can. Daytime exercise can also help reset your body’s circadian rhythm and remind it that you need sleep. Since dehydration can make jet lag worse, be sure to drink plenty of water during your trip and be careful when indulging in alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, as they can make dehydration worse.

What else can we do for a better night’s sleep while traveling?

A look inside a business class car of an Amtrak train.
Photo by Andrew Davey

If you’re on a late-night flight, train ride, or road trip, try turning off your electronics, as they emit blue light that disrupts your circadian rhythm at night. If you can, sit near the window, as this will give you more control over your lighting. Be sure to bring accessories like a travel pillow, eye mask, earplugs, and travel blanket to add some comfort while blocking out unwanted disturbances like noise and bright light. If you need something louder to provide peace and quiet, remember to bring a good pair of noise canceling headphones to block out that noise. Then try a podcast, such as sleep with me, slow radio, You have to remember thatand Criminal (Yes really!). They can calm you down, distract you from outside interference, and make it easier to doze off.

If you’re at your destination and trying to figure out how to fall asleep, keep your space as dark and quiet as possible to create a better environment for sleeping. If you’re in a hotel room or vacation rental with a controllable thermostat, turn the temperature down a bit. If you’re camping, make sure your air mattress or sleeping bag is ready before you go overnight. Wherever you spend the night, maintain your usual bedtime routine — whether that’s a warm bath, light evening reading, or listening to classical music — to remind your body when to get ready. to sleep.

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