5 Sleep Tips for Travelers
It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling for business or for a little rest and relaxation; it can be tough to get a good night’s sleep on the go, no matter how tired you are.
“Traveling can disrupt your sleep schedule, and that can make it tough to get a good night’s sleep,” Matthew Mingrone, MD, the lead physician for EOS Sleep in California asserted in Everyday Health. The effects of traveling on your sleep patterns can linger even after you’ve returned home, and make it more difficult to return to your regular routine.
Lack of sleep is common among travelers. If you’re struggling to sleep well on your journey, here are some techniques you can try.
1. Take Sleeping Pills
Talk to your doctor about sleeping pills for your trip. These can help you get some rest no matter how uncomfortable the bed might be.
Follow the advice of your doctor carefully as well as the usage directions of whatever he or she gives you because sleeping pills can become addictive. “When people start to take sleeping pills like Ambien to help combat insomnia, they usually aren’t intending to become addicted to the medication,” warns an article from the addiction recovery organization Resurgence Behavioral Health in California.
“But as time goes on and they continue to take it, dependency starts to set in where they are using the pills even when it is no longer necessary — and this is the time when addiction begins to set in.”
2. Avoid Taking Lengthy Naps
If you must take a nap while you’re on vacation, try to make it a short one. Naps of 30 minutes or less can do wonders for revitalizing you without making it difficult to sleep in the evening.
Also, Dr. Mingrone told Everyday Health that it’s smart to take naps at the right time of day if you don’t want to disrupt your regular sleep cycle. “The earlier in the day you take a nap, the better it will be for your sleep cycle,” Mingrone said. “A nap between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. is not a good idea.”
3. Try a White Noise Machine
You’re accustomed to the sounds in your house and neighborhood, but when you’re faced with new sounds (or the lack of them) on your travels, you might have a more difficult time falling asleep when you need to.
“I always travel with a white noise machine,” says Emily Smith, a travel blogger from The Best of This Life. “Whether to use in the car for the kids or to buffer hotel hallway sounds, a noise machine can be a real lifesaver. Both my son and I choose the ocean waves to lull us into a peaceful sleep.”
You can purchase a small, portable white noise machine to take with you wherever you travel. Quiet buzzing, falling water, or other sounds from nature might help to minimize distractions from noisy neighbors, construction, or street sounds.
4. Adjust to Local Time as Quickly as Possible
Jet lag can be a heavy burden for travelers, especially if you’ve crossed to a time zone that’s three hours or more from your own. It’s tempting to check into your hotel room first thing and go straight to bed.
But you’ll have an easier time adjusting to jet lag and getting a good night’s sleep if you try to adjust to the local time as swiftly as possible. If you’re traveling from New York City to Hong Kong, for example, the time difference is 11 hours.
Consider flying through the night and sightseeing as much as possible during your first day on the far side of the globe, even if you’re tired from not having slept much the night before. You’ll start the adjustment to the new time zone and get a great night’s sleep that first full night in the new location, which will set you up for success on the remainder of the trip.
5. Choose the Right Hotel Room
When it comes to selecting a great hotel, it’s not just about the continental breakfast, pool, and price tag for the package. You should do further research to locate a high-quality stay.
“Look at the hotel website and check out its TripAdvisor or Yelp pages,” recommends Alan Henry of LifeHacker. “See if your hotel is under renovation, if there’s construction nearby, or if it’s close to a busy street or noisy airport. You can always ask for a room away from that busy street, along with a hallway, away from construction, or in some cases, on a ‘concierge level’ or ‘suite level,’ which are usually higher up and often quieter.”
Reading reviews or calling the hotel to ask questions can help you find the perfect room for your needs. If sleep is an essential part of having a great time on your trip (and it’s vital for everyone) don’t skip this step when you plan your vacation!