Overnight trains, uncomfortable busses, first nights in unfamiliar hotels – all these things can become huge obstacles for getting a great time while traveling because they don’t allow us to get a proper night’s sleep and thus spoil the whole journey. Guess what? Your struggles will be over after reading this article because it contains great tips for getting a proper sleep while traveling.
There are many different factors that affect our sleep during traveling, including changing time zones, using different types of transportation, and even the inability to sleep in an unfamiliar place. We covered all these issues in this article, so buckle up and let’s go!
Sometimes international or even domestic travels require a change of the time zone, which dramatically changes our usual sleeping patterns. Different time zones are the reason why you will eventually find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night of deep asleep at the time when others are enjoying their beach times or their walks around the city. Don’t let the time zone change ruin your long awaited vacation.
- Make your body prepared. In case you know for sure that you will be traveling into a time zone, which differs from your for more than 2 hours, it would be a great idea to prepare your body ready before your sleep even begins. Four of five days prior to your departure, start changing your sleep routines according to the time zone of the place of your destination. You can try going to bed and waking up 15 minutes later or earlier each day, depending of the direction of your transportation. It will help your body to adopt the new circadian rhythm, so you will have more opportunities to enjoy your vacation.
- Drink water. Staying hydrated while traveling is a must! Water makes it easier for the body to adjust to any new changes, including the new sleeping pattern, so make sure you stay hydrated during the whole time of your trip.
- Use the help of nature. Sunlight is a natural factor that regulates the circadian rhythm of the body, and it will also be a great help on your way to adopting the new sleeping times. In the morning, just after you wake up, try to spend 15 to 30 minutes under the direct sunlight. It will remind your body that it is time to rise and shine and will help you start your day easier and faster.
- Avoid naps during the daytime. Although naps can be great for recharging your body and mind, you should try to avoid them during your travels because they will definitely mess with your sleeping rhythm and make it even more difficult for you to adjust to a new time zone. Nap only in case you feel like it is absolutely unbearable to stay awake longer, but try to limit it for 20 minutes.
- Take melatonin. In case you have difficulties falling asleep at night, it might be a good idea to tale melatonin to help your body adjust to the new time zone. However, it is always necessary to be very careful with any sleeping medications, so before taking it, you should consult with your therapist.
Traveling by car.
Cars are definitely not the most comfortable places to sleep while traveling, but if your car is also your primary method of transportation, there may be cases when you will have to spend a night or two using it as a supplement for your bed. Good night’s sleep is always essential, so if you absolutely have to spend a night in your car, try to make it as comfortable as you can.
- Choose the right spot. An empty car standing in the middle of the street may look suspicious, so there is a chance that someone will disturb you during your sleep. If you end up in a city, village, or town, try to choose an overnight parking or take a parking place near a 24-hour supermarket. In case you have to stop in the middle of the road, where there are no spots like these, you should try to hide your car in the woods or behind the trees. Spots like these will grab less attention to your car, so you will have an opportunity for a proper rest.
- Take your pillow and blanket. They will definitely make your night more comfortable.
- Don’t forget a sleeping bag, especially if it is cold weather outside. It can get really cold inside the car during the night, so you should make sure you set a comfortable temperature for your body in order to get a proper night’s rest.
- Take something to read. Reading will help your relax and help you fall asleep faster. Plus, it can get pretty boring in a car during the evening. However, be thoughtful about using your smartphone because it can actually damage your sleep.
Traveling by plane.
Planes are great for traveling because they can get you to the most remote place on the planet in less than 24 hours. However, choosing them as your primary way of transportation can also largely mess up with your circadian rhythms.
- Avoid red-eye flights. Such flights are great for saving up some time, plus, they are usually cheaper than daily ones, however, they are the worst for the night’s rest. First, it is very uncomfortable to sleep in the plane because you rarely have an opportunity to lay down. Second, the long and complicated process of checking in and getting through all the security checks gives you almost a 100% guarantee that you will spend this night sleepless and restless.
- Keep your belt fastened. If you are a lucky person and have a superpower of being able to sleep in the plane, make sure that your seat belt is fastened during the whole flight. In case you forget to do it, there is a high chance that the crew member will wake you up right when you will actually start to enjoy your sleep.
Traveling by public transport.
Busses and trains are usually the cheapest ways of transportation, but we often have to pay the rest of their price with the nights of struggling to fall asleep. However, if you absolutely have to take an overnight bus or train, use the following tips to make your sleep at least slightly more comfortable.
- Look for trains, which provide places for sleeping. There are special trains, which are equipped for the long overnight transportations in some countries. They provide the opportunity to lay down and sleep, and would be a perfect choice for traveling.
- Choose a place near the window. It will help you find additional support for your head and widen your choice of sleeping positions.
Many people find it difficult to fall asleep in an unfamiliar place, and even say that they would never trade their own bedroom for the best and the most luxurious hotel room. Such troubles usually happen because it may be difficult for the body and brain to fully relax in a new place, which stops us from falling asleep.
- Take something familiar from your bedroom to your trip. It can be your bed sheets, a candle reminding you of the scent of your bedroom, or even your favorite toy if you have any. The point is to make your body and brain thing that they are in a safe and familiar environment because it will help them relax and take you back to sleep.
- Do something relaxing. If you have been lying in your bed for more than 20 minutes and you feel like there is absolutely no chance for you to fall asleep any time soon, it would be better to get up and do something calm. You can read something or do yoga. The main point here is to reset your brain and remind it that it is already a time to go to bed.
We gathered here the simplest and most basic tips that will help you with your sleep during any type of transportation you choose.
- Wear comfortable clothes. In case you know that you will have to spend more than 3 hours traveling, it is always good to pick something comfy to wear. Not only that it will be generally helpful during your trip, comfortable clothes will also make you fall asleep easier.
- Keep track of your diet. New cuisine always makes us want to try every interesting dish we find in a new country or city. However, eating too much can be very harmful for your sleep, especially if you eat 3 hours before going to bed. We already discussed it here.
- Use a neck pillow. Providing an extra support for the neck is always useful while sleeping in a seated position, so make sure you have it during your travels.
- Take a sleeping mask and earplugs. Sleeping in an unusual place, and, especially, in public transport, can be extremely disturbing and harmful for your sleep. Sleeping mask will help you create a complete darkness for your eyes, while earplugs will help you to distance yourself from the distracting noises from the outside.
Sleeping while traveling can be challenging die to many causes, however, experienced sleepers and travelers know exactly what to do to get the best of it. Use our tips on your next journey, and you will definitely have a great sleep and an awesome trip.