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Travel Essentials for Better Sleep

Travel Essentials for Better Sleep

By Lisa Selvaggio

If you’re like a lot of people, you wait for summer to roll around so that you can go traveling and see new places or revisit old favorites. But when you’re taking long flights, jet lag can set in and really put a damper on the first few days of your vacation.

Thankfully, there are some handy tips that you can implement to help prevent jet lag when you’re off exploring the world, and we’ve listed a few of them below to help you travel smarter.

Book an Overnight Flight and Sleep on the Plane

If it’s possible to book an overnight flight, this might be a good way for you to avoid jet lag. Basically, you’ll be able to have dinner at your usual time, and you’ll also likely find it easier to sleep while on the plane. Provided that you land in the morning, or even in the early afternoon, you might manage to stick to a normal schedule, without feeling the fatigue of jet lag during the day.

To get the sleep that you need while on the plane, consider packing a sleep mask that can help block out light and encourage your body to rest. You can also bring earplugs to block out noise that would otherwise keep you awake. And a travel pillow can even help you get into the most comfortable position for some shut-eye.

Another way to avoid jet lag is by preparing your body for the new schedule that you’ll be on while abroad. The idea is to give yourself a chance to adjust to the new time zone that you’ll be in during your trip.

So, for example, if you’re going west, you can ease yourself into going to sleep later. On the other hand, if you’re going east, you’d work on setting your bedtime to an earlier hour.

Do this several days before your departure, as that will give you an opportunity to make the shift in your sleep schedule in a gradual way. You might, for example, try shifting your bedtime by around 30 minutes each night until you’re going to sleep at what would be the appropriate hour in your destination’s time zone.

Tweak Your Sleep Schedule in the Days Before You Leave

Another way to avoid jet lag is by preparing your body for the new schedule that you’ll be on while abroad. The idea is to give yourself a chance to adjust to the new time zone that you’ll be in during your trip.

So, for example, if you’re going west, you can ease yourself into going to sleep later. On the other hand, if you’re going east, you’d work on setting your bedtime to an earlier hour.

Do this several days before your departure, as that will give you an opportunity to make the shift in your sleep schedule in a gradual way. You might, for example, try shifting your bedtime by around 30 minutes each night until you’re going to sleep at what would be the appropriate hour in your destination’s time zone.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol, and Drink Water Instead

You might be tempted to have a cup of coffee to stay awake for your travels, but it’s actually a good idea to avoid caffeine for roughly 12 hours before your flight. On top of making it hard to get some sleep on the plane, caffeine can dehydrate you and lead to symptoms like nausea, heartburn, jitteriness, and headaches during your flight.

It’s also best to avoid drinking too much alcohol while on your flight. It, too, can dehydrate you, which would make your jet lag worse. Plus, if you’re using alcohol to relax and fall asleep, it might end up backfiring because it could make you feel groggy once you wake up. Beyond that, it might cause you to wake up often while you sleep, thereby making you feel worse once it’s time to get moving. So, if you want to get good quality sleep in during your flight, alcohol isn’t recommended.

Rather than drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol, stick with drinking plenty of water before and during your flight to keep your body hydrated. When you’re hydrated, you will likely find it easier to sleep better.

Give Melatonin a Try

Rather than opting for sleeping pills, which are typically only appropriate for use on really long flights, consider taking a melatonin supplement that you can get without a prescription. This product might help you fall asleep with greater ease while en route to your destination.

Put simply, melatonin is a hormone that affects when you wake up and when you fall asleep. So this could also be a helpful tool when it comes to getting much-needed rest after you’ve arrived at your vacation spot, especially if you’re having trouble adjusting to the time zone. Just take it before bed to help you fall asleep and reset your schedule.

Bon Voyage!

With the right strategies and products in place, you can avoid jet lag, or at least minimize it. So go ahead and start changing your sleep schedule little by little in the days leading up to your trip, and invest in high-quality sleep masks and melatonin supplements that can help you get the rest you need even when your mind is excited for the journey ahead. That way, you’ll be able to arrive at your vacation destination feeling refreshed and ready to go on your next adventure.

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