Just like Goldilocks it can be difficult to get sleep when you are far from home. Hard beds, lumpy pillows, and new surroundings can all make it difficult to have a good night's sleep while traveling. Whether on a road trip across the U.S. or a flight overseas we have 10 tips to help you get your Zzz's.
- Continue Bedtime Routines
Keeping routines is essential to telling your body it is time to sleep. Do you usually get a shower at night? Do this on your trip. Are the kids used to a bedtime story before falling asleep? Bring a book to read to them, or make up a new story. Avoid technology and dim the lights at least 30 minutes before bedtime. There is no excuse for NOT packing your bedtime routines since they totally count as a carry on.
- Go to Sleep at Your Normal Time
Throughout your trip, try to go to bed and wake up at your normal times. Say What!! If you normally go to sleep at 10:00 p.m., try to go to sleep at 10:00 p.m. local time to quickly get your body back in its normal rhythm. We know it sounds crazy, but if you apply this simple rule on your first night, the rest of the trip will be gravy.
- Use Essential Oils for Improved Sleep
Many scientific studies have shown that aromatherapy improves sleep quality. Lavender oil is among the top essential oils used for better sleep. Other essential oils to try are Roman Chamomile, which has a light flowery scent, and Marjoram. You can apply the oil directly to your skin, or place a few drops on your pillow. Who knows, you may even be helping the next guest get better sleep. Good Deed...Check!
- If You Are on a Road Trip, Bring Your Own Pillow
Nothing says comfort like your pillow from home. A pillow can easily be tucked under your arm as you run through the airport to catch your connecting flight and fantastic for screaming into when you miss the flight. However, the primary reason for your pillow is that you WILL get better sleep with a comfort from home. And, if you're on a road trip....no excuses. You can always make room for your pillow
- Avoid Jet Lag When Flying
When traveling across multiple time zones, you will likely experience jet lag. One way to alleviate jet lag is to stay awake until evening (in the local time). The day you arrive, your body will tell you to go to your room and take a nap. Don't listen!! If you do this, you are setting yourself up for tougher days ahead. Stay awake until at least 7:00 p.m. on the first night and your body will graciously forgive you for ignoring it the night before.. For more ways to avoid jet lag, read our article here...
- Drink Plenty of Water
Most people are more active on a trip than at home -- so whether you are hitting the pavement for the day; hiking a trail; or swinging on vines through the jungle, make sure to have your trusty water bottle at your side. Staying hydrated throughout the day will help you feel better at night so you get better sleep. Don't forget! Any chance you have during the day, drink water...even while enjoying your morning cappuccino and cornetto. Just drink it!
- Shut out Unwanted Light
When you are on a trip, a big disruption to sleep is light. It can be a night-time street light or the early morning sun shining in your window. Make sure the draperies are closed well so that no light seeps through, or you can wear an eye mask. And when all else fails, a clean sock or t-shirt over the eyes can be a life saver.
- Use a White Noise App and/or Earplugs
Horns beeping late into the night in New York City, early morning garbage trucks picking up Tokyo's trash, and even birds chirping in Segovia can wreak havoc on a good nights sleep. Since you can't bring your trusty slingshot, bring earplugs to muffle the noise, turn on the ceiling fan or use a white noise app to mask the sounds. So, unless you can find a secluded hotel with a waterfall outside of your window and birds that sleep til noon we recommend downloading the app!
- Control the Temperature in the Room
According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. "When lying in bed trying to snooze, your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep—and the proposed temperatures above can actually help facilitate this. If your room is cool, rather than warm, it will be much easier to shut your eyes for the night."
- Read Reviews to Check the Bed Comfort
In our 18+ years of traveling, we've slept on all sorts of mattresses. The comfort runs from the most comfortable bed to the hardest bed we've ever slept on. It's a good idea to read reviews to check on the comfort of the bed, especially if you are staying longer than three nights in one spot.
The most uncomfortable bed we ever slept in was in Siena, Italy. Luckily, we were only staying two nights. But, when we had views like this, we really couldn't complain...not even about the outdated blue comforter!
You have precious little time when you are traveling and you want to be at your freshest and most awake. Follow these 10 tips to get the good night's sleep you need so you can enjoy the trip you deserve.