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Sleep and Travel: Coping with Jet Lag and Sleep Interruptions

Every journey starts with a good night’s sleep, or so they say. Traveling can be energizing and invigorating – but it can easily also undermine your sleep. Managing jet lag and sleep interruptions while traveling isn’t always easy, but with the right strategy and some healthy habits, you can stay ahead of the curve. Read on to find out more about how to get the best sleep during your travels.

1. Soaring Through the Sky: Conquering Jet Lag

We have all experienced it; the dreaded jet lag. No matter the time of day or night, your body is confused and fighting the change in hours from one time zone to the next. Although jet lag may be inevitable for some, there are a few helpful tips to minimize the impact.

  • Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before and during your flight. During long flights, the lack of humidity can quickly dehydrate your body. Staying hydrated helps ward off fatigue and headaches.
  • Adjust Your Sleeping Patterns prior to flying. Begin preparing for the time zone you’ll be traveling to a few days before by adjusting your wake and sleep times. If you’re flying eastward, make sure to go to bed a few hours earlier than usual. If you’re flying westward, make sure to stay up later than usual.
  • Eat Light and on Schedule where possible. Eating meals and snacks on the corresponding time zone of the area you’re flying to and/or from will help adjust your internal clock to the new scheduled times.

Jet lag can contribute to an uncomfortable trip, but with a few preparations and adjustments, travellers can minimize its effects and make way for a more enjoyable experience!

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2. Travelin’ and Sleepin’: Navigating Sleep Disruptions on the Road

  • Traveling often means you’ll be dealing with some jet lag and sleep disturbances.
  • Whether they’re due to being in a different environment, feeling a bit anxious about the trip, or a combination of the two, it can be tricky to get some good shut eye when you’re away from home.

Stick to Your Regular Bedtime Routine. Your regular bedtime routine at home sets cues for your body that it’s time for sleep. Do the same when you travel! Change into something comfortable for sleep, turn down the lights, listen to calming music or a soothing podcast. Make sure your phone is off and out of reach. Your regular bedtime routine can be customized to your wants and needs while traveling.

Practice Good Hydration. When you’re traveling, your hydration habits may not be as top of mind as they are at home. Fatigue and sleep disturbances can hit when your body is dehydrated. The key is to drink enough throughout the day so that when nighttime comes, you won’t be in need of a bathroom trip!

Take Supplements if Needed. Sometimes, it can be difficult to fall asleep naturally in unknown environments. That’s why some travelers choose to use natural supplements, such as melatonin or valerian root, to help them get some restful sleep. When exploring this path, make sure to check with your medical provider and read all labels to ensure the supplement is right for you.

3. Let’s Get Sleepin’: Tips & Tricks for Dealing with Jet Lag

Jet lag can be one of the worst parts of travelling, but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the effects. Here are a few tips to get you back in your usual rhythm and ensure a good night’s sleep in a foreign time zone:

  • Prepare for the flight. Adjust your sleep and meal patterns to the local time in the place you are travelling to. It’s best to do this a few days before you even leave. Drink plenty of water and have a couple of snacks during the flight to stay energised.
  • Focus on sunlight. When you arrive in your new time zone, it’s important to try and stay out in the sunlight for the first day as much as you can. This helps your body adjust to the time difference much faster and more smoothly.
  • Take things easy. Don’t try and plan a busy day for your first day in the new time zone as this is when you’ll be feeling the most tired. Give yourself time to adjust and take plenty of breaks during the day.
  • Stay active. Little bits of exercise during the day and making time for an afternoon stroll will help you adjust to the new environment and get you ready for bedtime.

Finally, it’s important to adjust your bedtime and wake up time as quickly to the local time zone as possible. You may not feel like sleeping, but you need to train your body for local timings to prevent your jet lag from worsening. Read a book or meditate before bed to help you unwind and have a good night’s sleep.

4. Don’t Let Sleep Interruptions Spoil Your Vacation

It’s so easy for our well-earned vacation to be disturbed by long nights of sleep interrupted by noise, light, and insects. All these disturbances can easily set us into a foul mood and ruin our holiday experience.

Still, we can make sure our vacation stays interruption-free if we follow a few simple rules:

  • Check out the bedding and sleeping environment before getting a good night’s sleep. Make sure the rooms are properly cleaned and any possible pests have been eradicated.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Try to find an area that is not too close to cars or pedestrians, so that you don’t have to deal with outside noise.
  • Take advantage of earplugs or an eye mask. Not being exposed to light or sound can make a huge difference when laying down to rest.
  • Try to keep the bedroom as dark and as quiet as possible. It’s a great idea to remove any possible noise source, like air conditioners or TV, and replace it with a gentle, relaxing sound like playing music.

Bedbugs can also be an issue during sleep, so be sure to check the mattress for infestation before sleeping on it. With these simple tips, you can make sure your vacation remains a pleasant one.

5. Sweet Dreams: Getting Enough Rest on the Road

Rest is a top priority, especially when you’re out on the road. It’s not easy getting the right amount of sleep in between all the sightseeing, exploring, and trying to make the most of your trip! Here are five tips to help you get in the habit of getting enough rest while on the road:

  • Schedule a sleep-in day: On at least one day while traveling, plan ahead to take a break from all of the sightseeing and just take some time to relax and sleep in. An extra couple hours of rest can make a huge difference in your energy levels.
  • Listen to music before bedtime: Relaxing music is an effective way to reduce stress and help you fall asleep quickly. Put on a calm playlist of your favorite tunes, close your eyes for a few minutes, and you’ll be sound asleep in no time.
  • Hang blackout curtains: Invest in some durable and lightweight blackout curtains. This way, no matter where you’re sleeping, you can darken the room during the day and block out any bright light for a peaceful snooze.
  • Take timely naps: When it’s too hard to commit to a full night’s sleep, try to take power naps throughout the day. Just make sure you don’t sleep too late or forget to set an alarm – a few stolen moments of slumber can go a long way.
  • Prioritise sleep: No matter where you are or who you’re with, prioritise getting enough rest. This is especially true when you’re away from home on long trips. Make sure you set aside enough time to log in quality Zzz’s!

With some simple pre-trip preparation, jet lag and sleep deprivation need not ruin the joy of travel. By being mindful of the body’s need for rest and nutrition, and with a few strategies in place, restful slumber is within reach, no matter what time zone you’re in. Sweet dreams!

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