We’ve all been there. We finally arrive at that once-in-a-lifetime destination – only to be too tired to go explore!
Traveling can be hard. Moving from one place to the next, trying new foods, mastering new customs and coping with new and different sleep environments – it’s all exhausting. Yet despite being tired when we travel, we often can’t get to sleep. Not to mention jet lags, which are the worst!
So, how do we cope? Below I’m going to let you in on a few secrets to ensure you remain fully rested on your travels.
Get your pre-trip preparation right
The success to a good trip is to get your pre-trip preparation spot on. Forget having leaving drinks the night before you leave. You’ll just be hungover and tired stepping onto your flight, meaning when you arrive at your destination you’ll be exhausted and already on the back foot. Skip the wine and get a good night’s sleep the night before instead.
Similarly, avoid unnecessary hassle and assemble your travel essentials a week before your flight; your passport, flight details, etc. And what’s more, pack your bag two or three days before you are scheduled to leave. These two simple additions to your schedule will eradicate any chance of last-minute packing stress ruining your last night’s rest.
And if you’ll be flying across a few timezones, beat jetlag by adjusting your bedtime in the days and weeks before departure. Even if it’s just by half an hour a day for a week. This will cushion the shock your body clock is going to get hit with in the first couple of days of arrival.
Bring your sleep routine with you
Travel is all about breaking out of the routine – and that’s why we love it – but when it comes to getting a good sleep, the experts will tell you nothing is more helpful than sticking to a tried-and-tested bedtime routine.
This doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Mine consists of unplugging an hour before bed (phone included), showering, brushing my hair, 15 minutes of meditation, writing in my diary, reading my Kindle and then sleep.
Whether I’m at yoga retreat in Bali or trekking in New Zealand, I can replicate some, if not all of these steps – and each one helps my brain to realise that sleep is on the way.
So pay attention over the next few nights and work out if you have a set of steps you take every day before bed. If you do, take them with you on holiday; if you don’t then try some, they will help equally at home as abroad.
When it comes to staying well-rested when travelling, accessories are your secret weapon.
While they are small, earplugs are worth 100 times their weight in gold. You might never need to use them but if you do come across thin walls, creaky floorboards or any of the unwanted noises that new sleeping environments can bring, earplugs will be able to block them out easily.
Similarly lightweight, a sleep-mask is another travel buddy to make. On holiday the sun often rises earlier than at home. With a sleep-mask you’ll be able to block out the day’s rays until you decide you’re ready to face them.
Pack for sleep success
Often we agonise over what to bring with us on our travels. Shall I bring this beach dress or that beach dress? This sun hat or that sun hat?
And while we waste hours on such decisions, we often overlook some of the more important choices. Such as, are we bringing with us the things that can help us sleep?
If you know you suffer from poor sleep then pack the things that help you at home. These may add a few lbs to your baggage but the extra weight will be well worth it if it means the difference between a well-rested you and a sleep-deprived one.
So, if you use a white noise generator, put it in your case. If you sleep on something specially designed for your body, bring it with you.
Whether you’re a working nomad, a world wanderer or just a happy holidayer, just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean your sleep should suffer. In fact, sleep should be the last thing you sacrifice because without enough of it, you simply aren’t going to be able to experience the world in its true glory.
Follow the above advice and you’ll be a new, more well-rested traveller, able to enjoy whatever your journey throws at you.
5 Common Sleep Myths Busted
- Your body shuts down when you sleep
Quite the opposite in fact. Certain brain activity actually increases when you sleep, while your endocrine system uses the time wisely producing hormones vital for your immune system.
- Older people need less sleep
Wrong. Whether you are 35 or 85 the amount of sleep you need is pretty much remains the same. Older people unfortunately often find it harder to get the hours required for reasons involving poor health and altered circadian rhythms.
- 4 hours sleep a night is enough
A claim made famous by ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Maybe true for so-called ‘iron lady’, but not so for the rest of us. Anyone regularly sleeping just 4 hours a night would be considered chronically sleep-deprived by doctors.
- Alcohol can help you sleep
Just wrong. Alcohol may help you nod off initially but the multiple processes it sets in motion in your body and brain will reduce the likelihood of a quality night’s rest.
- Waking a sleepwalker can kill them
While waking a sleepwalker can be traumatic for all involved, there are no recorded cases of it proving fatal 😉