Ever try to sleep on a plane? We’ve all tried, but only a small percentage of us are actually successful. Sleeping away from home, no matter the place, can often bring about a restless night. Different bed, different pillows, different atmosphere. It all affects us.
So how do travelers manage to get a good night’s sleep? They’ve become professionals at getting to know their sleep habits and preferences, all while learning how to create the right atmosphere for sleep.
Here are some of my favorite sleep tips:
If flying from the US across the Atlantic (eastbound), it’s always better to sleep on the plane, since you’re likely landing during the morning at your destination. After landing, do your best to stay up as late as possible, and do not go to bed earlier than 9pm.
No matter where you are traveling, try to adjust your biological clock to the time zone where you’re traveling. For example, if you’re traveling to China when most of China is sleeping, you should be sleeping too. When you board your plane, set your watch to the current time of your destination to help. If you’re looking for a schedule to follow that helps you with jet lag, you can find several on the internet. Jet Lag Rooster is one site that will help you plan sleep.
If you don’t sleep well on a plane, bring a few over the counter sleeping pills or simply take some Benadryl. Try taking only one but take another if you feel no effects.
Bring a pillow or a blanket from home to help you fall asleep on the plane.
Take off your shoes or at least loosen the laces to improve circulation.
Keep all of your carry on items in the storage above, to allow ample room for your legs and feet to stretch out.
Stay hydrated! Always travel with a water bottle. Avoid carbonated beverages.
Avoid alcohol while flying. Cabin air is recirculated and dry which, along with alcohol, increases your chances of being dehydrated. Remember, one drink in the air is like two on the ground.
Eat right when traveling. Don’t overindulge and don’t try any new foods while flying.
Try to avoid caffeine, since as a diuretic, it will dehydrate you and increase your trips to the restroom.
Even if you can’t sleep, at least close your eyes and try to rest. Some rest if better than no rest.
While at Your Destination:
When you need to be alert and awake, expose yourself to sunlight, to allow your body to suppress its production of melatonin, which makes you sleepy. When you need to sleep (and the sun is still up) try to avoid all sunlight.
Avoid unknown foods, eat right, and drink plenty of water to keep your digestion in check.
Exercise! Exerting yourself and getting your heart rate up will often help you sleep better.
If you’re worried about oversleeeping due to a time change, set multiple alarms and/or ask for a wake up call from your hotel. Getting a good night’s sleep requires you to be free from all stress.
Ask the hotel for a room away from the elevator and away from any conference rooms or ball rooms. Avoid staying in a room that’s close to any possible late night activities, loud noise, or rowdy people.
To try keep the same sleep ‘ritual’ that you have at home. Go to bed at the same time and perform the same chores or habits that you do at home.
Create an ideal sleep environment for yourself. Make your room cool, dark, and quiet.
Don’t use screens before bed, especially in a dark room.
Be sure to travel with ear plugs, an eye mask, and relaxation music if necessary.
If you’re like me and want to ensure that you’re sleeping in clean sheets, buy a sleeping bag liner like The Friendly Swede Travel and Camping Sheet Sleeping Bag Liner(link to Amazon). It not only works great in sleeping bags and hostels, but I use my in hotels so I can crawl into my own sheets. (I love it since it gives me peace of mind!)
Traveling can be difficult mentally and physically. Making sure you get the proper amount of sleep can make a huge difference to your overall travel experience and to the memories you make while traveling the world.
How do you combat sleep issues while traveling? Got any great sleep tips for travelers? Let me know!
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