When you travel often for business or pleasure, getting a restful night's sleep can be a challenge. This is especially true if you change time zones often. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by following these ten tips for getting better sleep while traveling.
1. Prepare beforehand
Before you leave for your trip, modify your sleep to prepare your body for the time shift. This means going to bed and waking up at the times that you will when you're in your new location.
2. Drink plenty of water
Hydration is central to good health. To prevent yourself from getting excessively tired, drink plenty of water throughout your trip and in the 24-48 hours leading up to it.
3. Plan your flight accordingly
Whenever possible, try to avoid red-eye flights, which force you to travel at times that you'd normally be sleeping. These flights disrupt sleep patterns and can make you feel restless for the duration of the trip.
4. Cancel noise and light
Noise and light are both things that keep you from sleeping well. To get a good night's rest, whether on a plane or in a hotel room, cancel disruptive noise and light by using noise-canceling headphones and a sleep mask.
5. Get comfortable
If you're taking a long flight and trying to sleep on the plane, be sure that your clothing is comfortable. Wear clothes that allow for movement and bring a neck pillow if you enjoy using one.
6. Eat well
In addition to supporting your immune system, eating well can also help maintain your normal sleep patterns. Try not to eat large, heavy meals immediately before falling asleep and always eat a balanced, nutritious meal in the mornings. Doing this can help you feel rested and enable you to power through your day.
Engaging in 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day during your trip can help you sleep better at night. Don't forget to pack your gym clothes.
8. Make use of white noise
If you don't enjoy sleeping with noise-canceling headphones, try using white noise instead. There are many free apps you can download on your smartphone to help block out disruptive sounds with soothing sounds, such as the lapping of ocean waves.
9. Ban the screen
No matter where you are, sources of artificial light like television and phone screens can disrupt melatonin levels and lead to poor sleep. With that in mind, avoid using a screen in the 60 minutes before bedtime.
10. Stick to a routine
Whenever possible, stick to a bedtime routine. Doing this can help establish a pattern that allows you to sleep well no matter where you are.
While getting restful sleep away from home can be a challenge, these ten tips can help you avoid the harmful symptoms of sleep deprivation. Follow all or most of these recommendations so you can sleep like a baby no matter where you are.
"10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss" (WebMD) http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss
"Sleep Well While You Travel" (Everyday Heath) http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-travel/sleep-well-while-you-travel.aspx
"Exposure To Artificial Light From Electronics Disrupts Sleep Pattern, Causes Decreased Melatonin And Difficulty Falling Asleep" (Medical Daily) http://www.medicaldaily.com/exposure-artificial-light-electronics-disrupts-sleep-pattern-causes-decreased-melatonin-and-247286