Whether you’re simply going on a quick weekend getaway close by, or heading across the country, getting enough sleep is essential. But sleeping while traveling can prove to be quite difficult. Your body and mind are not used to your new surroundings and that can cause your internal clock to be off. And you may not have the comforts of home on hand. Check out these tips for getting better sleep on your next trip:
Bring some comforts with you
While you can’t bring your whole bed with you on your adventure, try bringing smaller items that remind you of your sleep zone at home. This could be a blanket you fold into your suitcase, your favorite pillow, a small stuffed animal that gives you extra comfort, a sound machine you regularly use, or even an air scent you use in your house. If you’re not able to bring a full-size pillow along, try purchasing a compact, high-end memory foam travel pillow that can provide the support you need while snoozing. Many come with carrying cases that make transporting them simple and discreet.
Get enough sleep beforehand
If you know you have to get up at 3 a.m. for that 7 a.m. flight, be sure you adjust your sleep schedule in the days leading up to your departure. The same goes for heading into a new time zone. Start moving your bedtime up by an hour (or later, if applicable) on the first night. Then add another hour on the second night, and a third hour on the third day. Charlene Gamaldo, medical director of the John Hopkins Center for Sleep, notes it takes one day per time zone for your body to adjust. By planning ahead, you’re helping to ease the transition.
Use a variety of sleep aids
Sometimes the bustling sounds of a new city will keep you up late, especially if you’re in a tourist-heavy spot. Other than keeping this in mind when reserving your accommodations, you should bring along some sleep aids. This could include an eye mask to block out any bright lights from street lamps or businesses, earplugs to silence the night owls, or even some headphones to play calming music while you sleep. If all else fails, try taking a natural supplement like melatonin. This hormone already naturally occurs in your body and helps you become sleepy at night, but you may need a little help with this nonprescription sleep aid when traveling. Melatonin is typically available at all major grocery stores in doses of up to 10 milligrams.
There’s no way of knowing ahead of time if your body will get on board with a new sleep schedule during your journeys, but you can try to help it along with these methods to make your trip a bit more enjoyable.