Approximately 36% of Americans plan to travel in the next 3 months. The prospect is promising, but it comes with one problem that often gets ignored — how well will you sleep?
4 out of 5 travelers struggle to sleep when they’re not at home, losing up to 58 minutes per night. 44% blame the new environment, 35% site unfamiliar noises, and another 35% say they had to work late on a business trip.
Waking up rested when you get out of a car or plane requires a bit of preparation. Read on for tips to help you sleep better while traveling.
Bring What You Need
47% of travelers have listened to music to help themselves doze off. It’s one of the most common remedies.
There is scientific evidence to back up this method. Music can help you sleep better by reducing anxiety and slowing down the nervous system.
If you want to keep the noise out, try earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. A sleep mask can help if you’re in bright conditions and need to block the light.
Bring comforting items from home to make your environment feel more familiar. You can also try travel pillows for flights or cars to help you stay in the right position.
Adjust Your Routine
Try moving your normal bedtime up an hour earlier each day before your trip so you get used to the change. If you’re only going to stay for 2 days or less, stick to your regular sleep schedule.
Follow the routine of the area you’ve traveled to once you arrive. Sleep and wake up when they do.
Get Proper Light Exposure
Our bodies use sunlight to regulate our circadian rhythm. It tells us when to wake up and when to fall asleep. Regulate it by getting your maximum light exposure in the afternoon if you’re going east and in the early evening if you’re going west.
Work In Exercise
Movement also has a major impact on the body’s circadian rhythm. Working it into your routine will greatly improve your sleep while traveling.
Try to do some light exercise at the beginning of the day such as walking or swimming for 20-30 minutes. Use long periods of inactivity during road trips to move or stretch.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Sleeping on flights and road trips is about more than your activities — it’s also about what you eat and drink.
Get plenty of water. This is especially important during a flight because planes are known to cause dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Eat nourishing foods that give you energy. Avoid anything heavy enough to leave you feeling bloated.
The body produces melatonin, a sleep chemical, about 2 hours before your normal bedtime. Going to a new place can make it produce too much or too little.
Taking a little extra in the form of a supplement reduces the confusion to help you sleep better while traveling. It’s effective for preventing jet lag but isn’t a foolproof cure.
Get Professional Help to Sleep Better *Everywhere*
Too many Americans already suffer the effects of sleep deprivation at home. Going on a trip to an unfamiliar environment only makes it worse.
Working to sleep better while traveling starts before your trip begins. Pack anything you need to feel comfortable, whether it’s a mask or a music player. Adapt your normal schedule to your destination.
Drink water and eat nutritious food. A dose of melatonin can help overcome jet lag in a pinch.
Sleep Dynamics offers sleep treatments to help you rest wherever you are. Contact us today.