For some people, sleeping is not only an essential requirement for the proper functioning of their bodies, but also a kind of a sacred ritual. They need a specific bedtime routine and a familiar environment to sleep. There are some people who cannot sleep unless they are in their own comfortable rooms, in their soft comfy mattress on their bed and hugging their teddy to sleep. I’m sure we all know at least one person like that. Some people can’t sleep in total darkness, while some demand it. Some people like to burrow into a pillow fort to sleep, while some find it hard to sleep with even the thinnest of pillows. This can be quite a bothersome issue while travelling, as there is no way of knowing what you might have to put up with during your adventures.
We are going to go over some quick tips that you can use if you have trouble sleeping away from your very own fortress of solitude. It might not be the same as sleeping at home, but these tips can certainly help make the ordeal bearable.
Adjust your Internal Clock!
If you are travelling to a destination that has a significant time difference with your current destination, start by adjusting your internal clock beforehand. Start by adjusting your daily lifestyle in the days leading up to the trip to your destination’s time. Try going to bed earlier or later than your local time (depending on the destinations offset) to minimize the effects of jetlag. To ease into it, you can start by pulling your bedtime back 15 minutes a day at least a week before your trip, to adjust to the new time zone.
Eat Right and Light!
Avoid taking heavy meals during or before travelling. Try to consume healthier stuff and stay away from fried foods. They will just end up making you feel full and want to use the rest room again and again during sleep time. You most certainly don’t want to have a gassy stomach if you are travelling with company.
Time to Relax!
The key to allowing sleep to take over you is to not over think or stress yourself out over things. Travelling all day or night long can wreak havoc on the way the body’s sleep cycle works, but a few relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, light stretches and meditation can help relax your muscles and mind to allow sleep to come easier. When it’s time to sleep, you should focus on nothing but the act of going to sleep, everything else can wait.
No to Caffeine!
Stay away from any substance that contains caffeine, like coffee and energy drinks. Avoid smoking and alcohol too, if possible. All of these are not going to help you in your quest for sleep. Instead, they will do the exact opposite. The best alternative is water. Drink plenty of it to stay hydrated. However, just like with fried food, don’t overindulge too close to bedtime or it will end up disturbing your sleep by having to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Follow your Pre-Bedtime Routine!
If you have a sleep routine, try to follow through with it as much as you can. Here are some good rules to follow while travelling (and at home too!).
- Avoid your laptops or anything that might stimulate the brain at least an hour and a half before hitting the bed.
- Don’t use your cell phone in bed because most of the cell phones emit daylight spectrum light. Dimming the brightness of your phone or not using it at all is the better alternatives for a sound sleep.
- Surround yourself with a calm and relaxing environment.
- Keep the lights dim.
- Take a warm shower an hour before bedtime if possible.
- Relax your mind. That’s the key to inducing the ZZZZZ’s quickly in a different environment.
Here’s a list of must have things to pack for your sleep time during your travels.
Eye Mask– To make sure any unwanted light does not disturb you when you are trying to get some much needed sleep.
Travel Pillow– Do the due diligence when choosing one. Make sure you get a comfortable one with proper neck and head support. Ideally it should be similar to whatever you use at home. If you have the right travel pillow, it can help you get to sleep faster.
Ear Plugs– They are important especially if you get up by even the slightest of sounds in your room while sleeping. You may not have the luxury of silence at bedtime where you are staying. You can also use headphones and put on relaxing ambient sounds to help you sleep better.
Teddy– Fine, we were just pulling your leg there. No, but seriously, if you can’t sleep without one, bring one along, or the whole bunch!
Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on Sleep and Room Temperature. You can follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.