20 May How to Get Better Sleep Series: When You’re Away From Home
An estimated 43 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, kicking off the busy travel season in the U.S.
On the road, through the skies, in a hotel or at the home of relatives or friends, being away from home and out of your routine are big disruptors of your sleep.
Here are some ways to get better sleep when you’re away from home so you can enjoy your trip:
Travel Sleep Kit
It’s always a good idea to have the right tools for the job so it makes good sense to approach sleep the same way, especially when you’re not in your own space that you are familiar with or can control.
Build or buy yourself a travel sleep kit with these essential eye mask and quality ear plugs (link). Weighted eye masks are great — if you haven’t tried one, do it. If you don’t mind a little more bulk for a lot more comfort, add a travel pillow and blanket to the sleep kit.
Neck pillows are popular for air travel and even for car trips if you’re not driving. Some neck pillows can compress down to the size of a small Nerf football and stuffed into a self-contained drawstring bag.
Portable White Noise
A lot of people feel they need white noise to help them go to sleep and stay asleep. A common favorite is the fan (often a box fan), but when you travel, it’s not exactly easy or even feasible to do so. If you’re a fan of soothing noise for sleep (see what I did there?), consider getting yourself travel-sized, portable fan or using a smartphone app to generate that white noise.
There are a variety of brands that make portable fans for travel ranging in size as small as 5×6 inches. Some are even USB or battery powered and rechargeable. There are probably even more options (free and paid) for white noise apps than there are portable fans so research and try out some of the free ones first.
Using a natural sleep aid and making adjustments to help your body relax are the best way to promote sleep when you’re away from home.
If your travel involves a change in time zones, you will want to prepare your body as best you can by adjusting your sleep cycle about three days before your trip. Sleep experts recommend you move your bedtime by one hour earlier or later, depending on the time zone shift.
Many people find that melatonin and calming essential oils have been helpful for better relaxation and sleep when away from home. Professional athletes who have to travel a lot often take melatonin to get a good night’s rest that will enhance performance and recovery.