Indeed; traveling can be extremely rewarding, but how to maintain healthy sleep while traveling? Travel gives a whole new meaning to life and captures us with a sense of wanderlust. Traveling is a wonderful way to meet new people and explore exotic places, different cultures, cuisines and of course new business opportunities. As amazing as traveling is, it brings with it long hours on the road, jet lag and sleeping in unfamiliar guest rooms: a perfect recipe for sleep deprivation. If not managed smartly, it can lead to tiredness, fatigue and even sickness that can ruin your fun at a leisurely trip or performance at a business trip.
Here are some smart tips and tricks to get enough quality sleep while traveling.
Plan Ahead to Maintain Healthy Sleep
A little planning goes a long way. Get enough sleep before your flight, and try to get more sleep in the days leading to your trip, so that if you’re sleep deprived during your flight you have banked enough sleep. If you’re going to a time zone that’s five hours away, a little preparation and planning can really help you to adjust to it. In such a case, sleep expert Rebecca Robbins suggests that you start preparing about 5 days before your trip starts and pull your bedtime back 15 minutes each night.
Keep a sleep-friendly kit in your hand carry-on containing ear plugs, travel pillow, calming music in your I Pod, food container with cold turkey, cherries or other sleep inducing foods. Bring along soothing herbal tea packets or such essential oils as lavender. All of this might come in handy during the flight or even at the hotel when you are having a hard time sleeping.
“To travel is to live” -Hans Christian Anderson.
Organize and plan everything ahead like packing your luggage, finishing presentations, family affairs, confirming flight and hotel reservations, printing your boarding pass, getting to the airport on-time to avoid any last minute stress. Most importantly, keep yourself mentally prepared for any flight delays. This can also add to mental fatigue and stress.
You can talk to your hotel representative beforehand and select a room and bedding according to your preferences. Most hotels now understand the importance of sleep for travelers and have incorporated a wide variety of soft to firm mattresses and pillows according to the guests needs. If you want to enjoy undisturbed peaceful sleep, pick a room away from the ballroom, bar, restaurants, elevator or other busy areas. Also, a room with an east facing window is great to allow maximum sunlight in the morning, just what you need to start the day bright and fresh.
Avoid Red Eye
Many people think that overnight flights are a great way to reach your destination earlier during the day and save time. But they aren’t called red eye flights for no reason. It actually disrupts your sleep and leaves you fatigued because the air flight is only a small portion of your travels. Prep before the flight, hotel and airport transfers and dealing with baggage claim also takes a lot time and adds to the fatigue. So what’s the point of reaching early when all you’ll do is crash to your hotel bed? It will give a terrible sleep deprived start to your trip and you will spend the rest of the time getting used to the new routine. So unless you really have no option, try to avoid red eye flights.
Stick To Your Routine
To avoid jet lag it’s best to stick to your normal bedtime routine and try to go to bed and wake up according to your daily routine on the day you arrive. You might be tempted to crash on your hotel bed and sleep after an exhausting flight but instead take a shower, change and head out.
Bring a Piece of Home
Everyone loves to roam around the world; but when it comes to sleep, there’s no place like home. In a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation, the majority of people said that they would prefer their bedroom over quality hotel rooms. Well, you can’t bring your bedroom along while traveling but bring simple things like a photo of your family, your favorite blanket or pillow and other small familiar items, according to sleep researcher and expert, Rebecca Robbins. Keep a white noise machine with you too to buffer hotel hall room noise or to lull yourself to sleep with familiar sounds. These little tricks can help you make an unfamiliar room comfortable for sleep.
The best part of traveling is enjoying the local cuisine and trying out exotic new dishes. But be wary that heavy meals and spicy fatty foods can steal your sleep too. Okay, so we are not saying that you won’t enjoy the food but do bring along medication in case you experience indigestion, and even packets of herbal tea. A glass of warm milk with honey before bed also does the trick and you can ask the room service for that.
Set the Scene
Finally, set the scene for a good night’s sleep. Change into comfortable clothes, adjust the room temperature to a comfortable level, turn off the lights and most importantly, turn off all electronic devices. Scientists say that the blue light emitting from electronic devices as laptops, mobile phones and tablets are a real sleep killer because they give the wrong signals to your brain of staying alert. It’s best to turn off all devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. However, even after all this you still find yourself counting sheep, just get out of bed and do something light like stretching exercises or read a book to unwind yourself. It’s important to do something less stressful but whatever you do, keep the lights dim and you’ll soon find yourself drifting to dreamland.
We hope these travel tips really help you to get enough quality shut eye so you can make the most of every day and moment of your next adventure.
- Rebecca Robbins, www.rebecca-robbins.com
- Read more on healthy sleep from Eugene Gabriel.