You’ve saved up the money, requested the time off, and organized every detail for your perfectly planned vacation. The time has finally arrived to see the world….and all you want to do is take a nap.
No one wants to be sleep-deprived on a trip. Especially when you only have so much time to see a new place. Getting rest and sleeping adequately while traveling is sometimes a lot easier said than done. Many people struggle with travel insomnia, but you don’t have to be one of them.
With a little bit of sleep planning and a few sleeping tricks, you will be on your way to a good night's sleep.
My absolute best tip for sleeping when traveling which is far too often overlooked is really so simple.
1. Bring Your Own Pillow
I know it may seem frustrating adding another thing to your packing list but it is so important to bring your own pillow. Particularly if you plan on being on the road for an extended amount of time there are a great deal of reasons why your pillow matters. (Even more so than the fact that travel pillows just frankly aren’t comfortable)
Your pillow helps align your spine to relieve your joints and muscles in your neck and back. Stress in your neck and spine can lead to pain almost everywhere else in your body. Headaches, chest pain, arms heaviness, strain in your ears and eyes…you name it.
With so many aches and pains you’re already putting your body through when traveling (ie. small airplane seats or crowded subways), the last thing you want is your neck and back to be at stress when you’re trying to sleep for the night. Think about it as an investment for your future body to let it move and play without pain on your next travel day.
If that isn’t a convincing enough reason, do a quick Google search of how often hotel pillows get switched out, and let me know if you still feel at ease laying your head down for the night.
My best advice? Invest in a SleepKeeper. A sleeve that compresses the size of your pillow substantially no matter how large. It will keep your pillow dry and more importantly clean. It also comes with a luggage sleeve to conveniently slide over your suitcase handle when traveling.
If you’re driving, you can use a SleepKeeper to de-bulk your pillows giving you more space in your trunk.
Pro tip: Your pillow can serve as your free personal item when you’re flying as well!
I used my SleepKeeper on my trip to Miami and was so relieved to have it when I found out my flight back got delayed. I took the most glorious nap on the airport floor. Click here to learn more and get your own SleepKeeper!
2. Sleep On The Right Time Schedule
Especially when you’re skipping across multiple time zones, try to schedule your sleep according to the time zone you’re arriving in. For example, if you’re scheduled to arrive at the place you're visiting around nighttime and you’ll be flying all night, try your best to stay awake on the plane so you’re ready to sleep as soon as you get there. In the other sense, if you’re scheduled to arrive in the morning, try your best to sleep on the plane even if you don’t feel tired. That way you’re alert and ready for a full day of travel and your body clock syncs just a little bit easier to the new time zone.
Don’t forget, drinks on international flights are free so if a glass of wine helps you nod off take advantage of it ;)
3. Move Your Body
Moving your body while on your trip is not only good for you physically but movement does a lot to release stress as well. Stress plays a big part in hurting your sleep patterns. I’m not saying you have to hit the gym early each morning unless that’s what you want to do. Simply, be mindful of how your body feels.
If you’re stuck in the airport for a long layover take a break from Netflix and walk around and look at all the shops. If you’re lounging on the beach, stand up and stretch and feel your muscles relax a little deeper.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Typically when we’re on vacation we like to indulge but too much caffeine and alcohol can also stop you from sleeping properly. Bring your filtered water bottle alongside all your adventures and remind yourself to hydrate constantly!
4. Repeat Your Routine
When you’re in new places around new environments, so many things are already stimulating your mind. Some are good, like experiencing new smells, and colors or meeting new people, and some are not so good such as stress brought on by fears about missing flights or trying to make sure you stay safe and are always alert. Even if you’re exhausted it can be hard to slow your mind. This in turn can keep you awake.
Try to do your best to repeat your nightly routines as you do at home. I sort all my daily hygiene items in an easily accessible travel organizer and hang it on my bathroom door. After brushing my teeth, washing my face, putting on my night cream etc. My body is already being notified that sleep will soon follow. Trying to keep a simple routine will alert your body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.
5. Avoid Naps
This might be the hardest one on the list but if you're struggling to sleep while traveling try avoiding naps altogether during the day. I know it’s easier said than done, especially if you’re struggling to sleep at night your midday rest may be hurting you.
For my people who don’t have problems sleeping, nap away, but if you’re reading this I’m going to guess that isn’t the case!
Have you tried any of these sleeping tricks before? Let me know how they work for you in the comments below!
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Sleep well and happy travels,
Sending love from Chicago,