Whether you’re traveling for business or for pleasure, making sure you get plenty of rest is absolutely vital for your experience. Unfortunately, a lot of people find that sleeping can be a real challenge when they are on the road (or in the air, or on a ship, or in a hotel… you get the idea).
Excitement, trepidation, discomfort, a different time zone; these are just some of the factors that can make sleeping a difficult task when you are traveling. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re going to be groggy, have less energy, more susceptible to illnesses, and cranky. The bottom line: sleep deprivation can mar your excursion.
You don’t have to let traveling deprive your sleep. Here are some tips that can help you get the shut eye you need on your next trip.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
When you’re tired, reaching for a cup (or several) of coffee or another caffeinated beverage is an automatic response. However, while it may be the pick-me-up you are looking for, it will only last for a few fleeing moments. When the caffeine wears off, you’ll end up being even more tired than you were before you drank it. Plus, consuming caffeine later in the day can make it harder to fall asleep at night, further compounding your sleepiness.
Drinking alcohol can also be detrimental to your sleep. Though it might be tempting to imbibe in a few libations when you’re traveling, try to resist the temptation. When you indulge in alcohol, your natural sleep patterns will be disrupted, making you even more tired the next day.
Invest in a Sleep Mask
Darkness invites sleep, but making your environment completely dark while you’re traveling can be tough – especially when you’re on an airplane, a train, or in a car. If you want to catch some Zs while you’re en-route to your destination, the best sleeping mask can certainly help. Look for one that blocks out all light, fits comfortably, and can be adjusted so that it’s the perfect size for you.
Put your sleep mask on when you feel the need to take a nap coming on or when it’s time for bed and you’ll drift right off to dreamland without any problems.
Grab Some Earplugs
Light isn’t the only thing that can make it tough to fall asleep when you’re traveling; noise can make falling asleep virtually impossible. Grab some earplugs before you leave and make sure you keep them close at hand at all times. When you want to dose off, just pop in your earplugs to drown out noises that would otherwise prevent you from falling asleep, like the sound of the road, the roar of a plane’s jets, or that person sitting a few rows behind you who shouts incessantly.
Get on the Time Zone
If your destination is on a different time zone than your home, prepare for the change before you leave. For instance, if you live on the West Coast of the US and you’re traveling to the East Coast, start going to bed three hours earlier than you normally would about a week before you leave. You’ll have an easier time adjusting when you reach your destination and won’t have to deal with jetlag.
Wind Down before Bed
Start winding down and getting ready for bed about an hour before you turn in. This is good advice for traveling, but it’s also advice that you can use to improve your sleep at home, too. Power off your devices and turn off the TV. Take a warm shower or bath, listen to some soothing music, read a little, or just dim the lights a bit. Your body will start going into sleep mode, which will make drifting off a lot easier.