If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep while traveling, you are not alone. According to a study conducted by Wakefield Research for the travel company Princess Cruises, more than 60 percent of Americans do not get good sleep while traveling.
Jet lag and sleep deprivation are infamous for ruining the first few days of many business and leisure trips.
To help you reach peak performance and get the most out of your upcoming trip, we’ve compiled a series of tips and tricks for how to sleep better while traveling. A great starting point is to download the free SleepScore App to get a baseline understanding of how you sleep.
Hotels: Do Your Research
Staying in a busy hub is a part of the tourist experience. Many hotels and rental properties are in the thick of the hustle and bustle. Before booking your accommodations, read the reviews. Watch out for red flags, such as:
Complaints about the room itself: These include (but are not limited to) bed bugs, backstabbing beds, threadbare curtains that let in excessive light, or loud air conditioning units that somehow still don’t seem to work well.
Noisy streets: Because “Charming Villa by Spanish Steps in Roma” sounds incredibly romantic until the late-night sounds of wine-wasted musicians keep you up until four in the morning.
If you are crossing time zones, there are several tricks that can help your body and mind adjust accordingly. First, get in the zone and take measures to avoid falling asleep while driving. Exposure to light affects sleep, so consider timed lighting or over-the-counter melatonin can help you get to bed early so you can advance to the new time zone. To stay on top of your sleep even when traveling, download this free app.
Traveling for Fun?
If you are crossing time zones but traveling for leisure, prepare as if you were traveling for work. However, there is more flexibility since your priorities will be less demanding when you arrive. This means you can choose to sleep when you feel tired rather than making your body adjust to the new time zone, but if you do need to adjust to a new time zone quickly, a sleep monitor app can help ease the transition.
If you are not crossing time zones, stick to your normal schedule and sleep patterns before and during your trip. This can help you avoid sleep deprivation.
Items to Pack
The main principle you want to focus on is to be as comfortable as possible. This includes packing some helpful gear.
Bedding: If space allows, bringing a sheet and a travel pillow with you for a long drive or flight can make it easier to fall asleep.
Eye mask and earplugs: An eye mask and earplugs can help you sleep through noise and light during your travel. They can also help you shut out noisy street sounds and light in your new environment. Another compact option to consider, if reinforcements are needed, are portable sound machines.
Your smartphone: That’s right. With the SleepScore App downloaded on your phone, you can track and improve your sleep anywhere you go.
Armed with a pillow and some fresh knowledge, you can get a better night’s sleep and enjoy your trip to its full potential. Whether you’re looking to acclimate to a different time zone for abroad travel, and avoid time change fatigue, or are simply escaping life’s trials for a bit of R&R, restful sleep is still within your reach!