Vacations aren’t always the most relaxing experiences. Sure, there’s the chance to lounge on the beach, and to soak up some sun, and to eat some great food al fresco. But there’s also the stress of travel itself; those missed buses, language barriers and constant moving from one hotel to the next that can truly wear you out.
The annoying thing is, even if you might be exhausted by all these factors while on vacation, chances are you aren’t sleeping as well as you might at home. Whether it’s the unfamiliar environment, the different time zone or all those late dinners, your sleeping patterns are way out of whack. And you might end up needing like you need a vacation by the end of your trip, a few days of solid sleep!
So to help you return from home feeling rested for a change, try following these simple tips for better sleep while on vacation:
1) Start off rested
First up on this list of tips for better sleep while on vacation is simply starting off right. If you’ve got your pre-trip prep right, you’ll be a lot more relaxed before, during and after your vacation. So avoid the temptation to start the holiday early and go out boozing right before your flight; you’ll just be hung over on the plane and exhausted when you arrive. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand and you’ll have a lot more energy/enthusiasm for that first day abroad!
Prevent jet lag from ruining your trip by adjusting your bedtime before you fly; even if it’s only by half an hour a day for a week. This means it’ll be less of a shock to your body when you enter a new time zone, and you’ll find it easier to get to sleep when you’re away.
2) Bring a little routine with you
I know, I know – we go on vacation to get out of routine, right?! But unfortunately, all those late meals, different bedtime and nightcaps ain’t doing our sleep patterns any favours. So if you want to sleep better while on vacation, try to incorporate even a bit of routine into your evenings.
It doesn’t have to impact your travel plans in any way. You can still have the late dinners if you like, but try to follow the same set of steps before bed to let your body and mind settle down for sleep. Turn off those phones, laptops and iPads an hour before bed (so that the blue light they emit doesn’t keep you awake). Have a hot shower (or cold, depending on where you are!) and spend the next 15-30 minutes writing in your journal, meditating or reading.
Whether I’m exploring the countryside or in an exciting new city, I can replicate all of these steps, most of the time. And this bedtime routine works for me, wherever in the world I might be.
3. Don’t forget to accessorize
My travel kit always contains at least one set of earplugs and a sleep mask, to help me get a better sleep at night and also to nap when on the road. I’ve found that even if I’m away from my home comforts, these babies offer up a cheap and effective way to get a great sleep on vacation. I don’t need a fancy hotel or a spa treatment to send me off to the Land of Nod; my mask and my plugs will do the trick!
So whether I’m trying to drown out the amorous encounters of the couple next door, your companion’s snoring, or shut out the sun’s rays on a long-distance bus journey, I can use my travel accessories to help me sleep better as I travel.
4. Nap when you can
Now that you’re kitted out with the right accessories, this should be a lot easier. Because vacations should be all about relaxing…and this includes at least one daily nap. As toddlers, we knew how important a midday nap was. As university students, we used power naps to get us through exams – or to face another night out.
So even if you haven’t napped in a long time (and really, you should try it out!), your vacation is the perfect way to start. Enjoy a snooze on the beach before sunset, catch a few zzzs while getting a massage or go all Spanish and have a hammock siesta after lunch. You’re not missing out on valuable holiday time; you’re simply enhancing the hours you’re awake. You’ll have more energy for your trip and you’ll be more rested when you get home. Bonus!
I hope these tips on getting better sleep while on vacation helps you rest, wherever and whenever that may be. Have a great trip, and a great nights sleep…you deserve it!