When you're traveling, sometimes it feels like you can't get enough sleep - late nights out enjoying a city's nightlife, symptoms of jet lag, the discomfort of sitting in a cramped airplane space - what can you do to make sure you get restful sleep while on the road? Some of us still have a hard time getting that really deep REM-cycle, eyes a-flutter type of sleep that awakens us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to tackle the morning. Morning person, I am not.
Here are 5 solid tips to help you along the way...
Alarm Your Sleep Cycle
Many travelers bring an alarm clock with them for those morning wake-up calls that are much-needed after a night out on the town. In preparation for getting rest while you’re overseas, set your alarm clock for the time you should be hitting the hay. Setting a time to go to bed rather than just to wake up will establish a sleep routine that suits you. By setting up your sleep cycle rhythm and getting restful sleep before you depart, you’ll feel ready to tackle any adventure that comes your way.
Nothing is worse than jet lag – and not getting any sleep on your long transcontinental flight will knock your sleep cycle into the stratosphere. Counter that by bringing your very own neck pillow – we’re not talking those tiny white un-fluffed pillows that the airline gives you. We mean those U-shaped neck pillows, and believe me, the comfort one of those plane pillows provide will be outstanding when your neck is aching for a break as you fall asleep, and you happen to choose the aisle seat with nothing to lean your head against. If you’ve ever had your airplane seat neighbor hover a bit too close to your shoulders when they’ve fallen asleep, you’ll agree that a plane pillow comfortably allows the neck to rest and allows YOU to catch some much-needed rest!
Cutting back on caffeine, sugar, & energy bars or drinks
When we’re on vacation, we have a mentality that we can eat and drink whatever we want because we’re on vacation! Right? Yet this mentality can end up hurting us, especially when consuming massive amounts of caffeine, sugary drinks or energy bars and drinks – wrecking your sleep cycle and keeping you wide-eyed in the evening, and leaving you with sleepless nights. Everything in moderation, as the saying goes. There will be plenty for you to see and do while on vacation to keep you lively and awake!
Fall asleep at sundown
When you arrive to your international destination after a long flight, all you’ll want to do is crash when you find a suitable place to sleep (cab, motor coach, hotel room) – then jet lag will set in and you’ll find yourself awake during your own time zone hours and asleep when all the action is happening around you. Try your best to stay awake or take a short nap when you arrive – but leave the heavy sleeping until the sun goes down or you risk sleeping the day away.
There's a Relaxing (n)app - or music - for that
Your roommate might snore, the mattress you’re sleeping on doesn’t have the same bounce, or you just find yourself staring at the ceiling and counting sheep. There are plenty of apps out there for smartphone and app-enabled devices that can help you relax and rest, or you can zone out to soothing music that will lull you to sleep. One example for sleep and relaxation melody apps is the Relax Melodies app, which allows you to custom mix 35 different sounds to help you slip into a state of REM-cycle bliss. Make sure to chock your iPhones full of music for downtime on the coach or to help you drift off to dreamland.