Travel tips for better sleep
With the arrival of the holiday season comes plans to visit friends and family. And with visiting friends and family comes sleeping away from your own bed — a thought that fills many (including me) with dread.
If you, like me, require a fine-tuned environment for sleep, here are a few tips for sleeping better when you travel (which I will personally be using this week).
Travel with earplugs
Whether you’re trying to get in a nap on the plane or drown out the sound of a snoring roommate (or your grandmother’s cockatiels), a comfortable pair of earplugs is a lifesaver.
All earplugs are not created equal; try a few brands to see what works best for you. I find that prefer a softer, squishier foam earplug. Mack’s is not only my favorite brand, it’s the number one doctor recommended brand. Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs are top-ranking; I typically use Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam earplugs.
Try a mask
The experts will tell you to sleep in a quiet and dark room. Unfortunately, you can’t always control the lighting situation. A room without curtains or a bunkmate who wants to read can mean hours of tossing and turning if you’re used to sleeping in total darkness.
Fortunately, sleep masks can help. While it can be difficult to get used to the feeling of falling asleep with something on your face, if you can find one that’s comfortable, sleep will be no problem on a travel night with too much light. (I recommend a contoured one like this to keep the fabric off your eyelashes.)
The combo of earplugs and sleep masks is especially helpful. One study of sleepers in a simulated ICU environment found that those with masks and earplugs experienced significantly better sleep and hormone levels than those without.
And another tip on light: Block any light as best you can. Having artificial lights in the room can keep you from sleeping well — environmental light causes lighter and more disturbed sleep. This is why, even if I need the alarm clock at a hotel, instead of unplugging it, I’ll cover the display with a folded t-shirt. Every bit of light blocked helps.
Take a sleep supplement
If it takes you uncomfortably long to fall asleep and you tend to wake easily, try a sleep support supplement. Something like these Sona Sleep Support Capsules can help you drift off faster and stay asleep better.
The ingredients in Sleep Support provide a broad spectrum of supplements shown to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and sleep deeply:
- Melatonin, shown to regulate the sleep/wake cycle and improve sleep quality.
- Vitamin B6, necessary for the production of serotonin, the precursor to melatonin.
- Valerian, a botanical used to support healthy sleep facilitates the onset of deep sleep.
- Passionflower and L-Theanine support better sleep with anti-anxiety and anti-stress properties.
I find a combination supplement like this super helpful, as it contains only a small amount of melatonin and more of several other supporting ingredients. Melatonin alone works for some, but for others (like me) it can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to vivid, unpleasant dreams.
Taking a sleep supplement in capsule form is great, too, because unlike liquid sleep aids like ZzzQuil, you can easily carry them with you for air travel.
Time your travel to reduce stress
Stress is a top contributor to loss of sleep. Try to factor in extra time for yourself as you travel to give your brain a breather and minimize the stressors that could keep you awake at night:
- Plan flights so you get a full night of sleep and don’t have to worry about the next day’s rush. It’s not always possible, but knowing you have the time to sleep well can often help you sleep well.
- Try not to overfill your days with taxing plans — an over-busy brain is more apt to stay awake
- Leave room in your schedule for your usual bedtime routine
If you’re looking for the perfect sleep supplement, you can shop for more options here. Here’s to happy holiday travels with healthy sleep!