This is why you can’t sleep while traveling (and what you can do to sleep better)

Traveling to new places is always exciting, but you have something negative to face: potentially losing out on some sleep. Getting proper sleep while traveling is the best way to make the most of your journey. To tackle the issue of not getting enough sleep, you must find out what’s keeping you from adequate rest and remedy the issue. Then, you can enjoy your vacation to its fullest.

Sleep while traveling
Sleep while traveling

Five reasons you aren’t getting enough sleep during your travels

Traveling somewhere brand-new can be exciting. However, there are plenty of parts of traveling abroad that aren’t so glamorous. Not getting enough sleep can hurt you in your waking hours. To make the most of your trip abroad, you need to learn how to sleep better while traveling in a way that works best for you, which means knowing what your lack of sleep might be attributed to. 

1. The time difference messed with you

Crossing time zones can leave you feeling tired. Your body won’t be used to the quick change of skipping hours, and you might need a few days to adjust to the change. One rule states that one day per one-and-a-half time zones is enough to cure you of your jet lag. Plan some extra time to rest early in your vacation. Eating smaller meals packed with protein may also help your body adjust to the new time zone.

Changes to a person’s daily routine, such as their sleeping time, can cause sleep difficulties even without the disturbance of jet lag’s circadian rhythm. 

2. You drink caffeine close to bedtime

Nobody has a proper bedtime while on vacation. You’ll likely be active during hours you would be preparing for sleep at home. You might even be drinking coffee or soda closer to bedtime. That caffeine could be keeping you awake. Even though you’re on vacation, you should try to follow some of the same rules you set at home, like no caffeine for a certain number of hours before winding down for the evening. That way, you’ll get better sleep and be able to enjoy more of your days abroad without feeling tired. 

3. You’re in an unfamiliar environment

Many people can’t sleep in an unfamiliar environment. Your brain could perceive danger, even if there is none, just by being in a new place and trying to enter the vulnerable state of sleep. Other animals, like pet dogs, experience the same inability to sleep when they’re somewhere new, so it’s a common phenomenon especially on the first night. You might be able to put your brain at ease with familiar items. 

4. Your typical routine has been disrupted

Nothing feels the same while you’re traveling. You’re not at home, so you may not have the things you’re used to around you. Your schedule might look a bit different, including waking and sleeping times, so it could take your body some time to adjust to a temporary normal. You should aim to stick to some sort of routine, even while on vacation, to not confuse your body and to get the best sleep possible.

5. You’re eating too much salt

When you’re on vacation, you likely want to try out every food you can. Delicious foods are part of enjoying yourself, but you should know how a sudden influx of foods that are bad for you can affect you. Salt leads to water retention, which could result in you waking up numerous times during the night to use the bathroom. Drinking sodas with every meal might contribute to this problem as well.

How to fix your sleep while you travel in five easy steps | Tips for Better Sleep

You might be traveling for several reasons. You could visit for work, whether you’re a business owner or a travel blogger. Prioritizing sleep can ensure that you have an exciting, full vacation while maintaining proper mental and physical health throughout your adventure. Here are the easiest ways to fix your sleep issues so you can make the most of your time abroad.

1. Follow your bedtime routine

Whatever you use to help you fall asleep at home can also help you in an unfamiliar place. If you have comfortable pajamas, bring them with you. A special pillowcase might also make the environment feel like home. If you use any scents, make sure to bring that aroma with you in some form. You might find it easier to sleep when surrounded by familiar things.

Your routine should stay the same. Just because you’re taking a vacation doesn’t mean your personal hygiene and skincare routine can! If these activities make you sleepy at home because they’re associated with bedtime, continue doing them while abroad. It might help you and contribute to sleep.

2. Boost your sleep hygiene

It might be challenging to make your hotel room feel just like home, but you should aim to do the best you can. Set the temperature to something nice and cool, not something too extreme that may disrupt your sleep. You’ll also want the environment as quiet and dark as possible, which means you shouldn’t sleep with the television on. If you absolutely need noise, play something soft that can lull you to sleep rather than something stimulating that will keep you awake.

3. Do something relaxing an hour before bed

Though vacations may not have a set bedtime, you can still feel yourself getting sleepy. To continue to sleep well, you should lean into that feeling and relax your body and mind before turning in for the night. Something like reading a good book or bathing can help you relax and get you ready for bed. Then, you can sleep better and wake up refreshed for all the adventures tomorrow holds.

4. Avoid fried food at dinner

You can’t avoid all the delicious foods at your destination, nor should you. However, if you can try to eat them earlier in the day, it might be for the better. When you eat more fried food, you’re at a greater risk for disorders like sleep apnea, which can decrease the quality of your sleep. Opt for grilled meat or a lighter dish with dinner, as you may notice it aids you in sleeping better.

5. Don’t travel at night

The last step to help you sleep while traveling is as simple as not booking red-eye flights. Though you think you might just be able to sleep while traveling, it likely won’t be quality sleep, and the trip might even keep you awake because of your excitement. Travel during the day so you can enjoy all the sights throughout your journey and arrive with a bit of time to explore or unpack before you turn in for the night. 

Get more sleep while traveling without missing out

You don’t need to miss out on your vacation to adhere to a proper sleep schedule. When traveling abroad, you should expect some disruption to your sleep. However, it shouldn’t last your entire vacation. Sleep while traveling shouldn’t be elusive. More sleep means you’ll have greater experiences by yourself or with the people you love. 

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