It is hard to sleep well when you have to travel. You are away from your bed, in an another part of the world. Traveling among strangers in a confined space like a plane or bus is not the least bit ideal for sleeping. Especially those who might be talking loudly, snoring, crying and so on.
These conditions like abnormal sleep cycles, tiredness and weakened immune systems all will affect sleep. These are common when you travel.
However, there’s a bright side. You can still sleep well while traveling.
Sleep deprivation is cumulative, so the longer you skip out on rest, the stronger the effects. Your attention span, response times and mood all worsen as you get more sleep debt. Therefore, you wind up performing worse during the time period when you have to be performing at your best.
So much so that even if you are not traveling for business, it affects your sleep, mainly due to jet lag.
You should start your preparation for a good night’s sleep before you are even on your way.
- A couple of days before you can leave, slowly adjust your sleep and wake times to match your destination’s time zone as much as possible.
- Make an effort to complement the timezone of the destination by flipping on the lighting in your home or even opening the window shades accordingly.
- Try to adjust the clocks in the house to the timezone of the destination.
- Eat well and exercise especially in the days just before the trip. However, you should be doing this everyday regardless of travel.
- Watch your alcohol and caffeine consumption.
- Pack in advance to lessen stress on the day of the trip.
- Go to bed much earlier the night before leaving, to ensure you are well rested.
While you are traveling to your destination, you will follow some general how-to’s you and suggestions specific to the form of travel.
- Use a sleep mask to block out light.
- A nap more than 30 to 45 minutes may get you right into deep sleep. Deep sleep is much more hard to wake from, for that reason only sleep for more than that if you will be traveling overnight or for many hours.
- Bring earplugs or perhaps noise canceling headset to block out crying babies, engine noise and noisy conversation.
- Stay hydrated and drink lots of clean water. This is particularly important for air travelers, as the lower moisture within the cabin causes you to dehydrate. Nevertheless, water will help you stay healthy. In case you opt to consume alcohol, limit it to a single glass so as to not mess up your sleep.
- Pack snacks that are low in sodium, like what we put on to our list of healthy food to help you sleep better.
- Position your body for optimum sleep. In order to allow your muscles to relax, you want to keep your spine as aligned as possible.
- Bring a neck pillow that will help you sleep upright comfortably, along with a blanket to offer additional padding if needed.
- Do not cross your legs as it restricts blood circulation.
- Set your watch to the destination timezone and prepare your body for time changes.