Top 10 Tips for Getting Quality Sleep While Traveling

Last updated November 13, 2023

Ensuring that you are getting quality sleep while traveling is important. Whether it is for business or leisure, feeling rested can make all the difference. But getting good sleep while traveling can be easier said than done. A number of distractions and obstacles can stand in the way of a good night’s rest.

From changing time zones to strange environments, getting quality sleep while traveling can be difficult. And as a result, it is important to know some travel tips that can help you attain the rest you need. With this in mind, the following offers some great travel tips designed to help you sleep while traveling.

1. Comfort Is King

As a starting point, your sleep environment must be one that is conducive to quality sleep. Besides making sure you have a comfortable bed, mattress and pillow, other items are also important. Your room temperature should be set at a level that promotes good sleep.

Likewise, the right sleep attire can also make a difference. In some cases, you may even choose to bring some items from home to enhance your sleep while traveling. In any case, making sure your sleep environment is comfortable is something that should always be considered. 

2. Don’t Forget to Accessorize!

Sleep accessories can promote better sleep while traveling. Sleep masks are helpful when accommodations have poor light control or when trying to maintain a sleep schedule. Likewise, earbuds can block out noise that might interfere with quality sleep. In addition to facilitating better sleep after arrival at your destination, these accessories can also help during travel. Whether on a plane, train or another form of transit, sleep accessories often come in handy.

3. Sweet Sounds of Sleep

There will be times on your vacation when noise and other distractions hinder your opportunity to sleep. Children crying on airplanes, loud guests next door, and even strange appliance noises can prevent you from getting quality sleep. As a result, investing in noise-canceling headphones can be a worthwhile endeavor. Likewise, some music apps and streaming services now have sleep melodies to help you sleep while traveling. These strategies, as well as “white noise” soundtracks, can be quite helpful when traveling.

4. Easing into Sleep Through Relaxation

Meditation retreats and mindfulness exercises are appreciated as a central aspect of wellness. These practices offer many health benefits. They also promote quality sleep. Through pursuing meditation and other relaxation techniques, you will find that your level of stress and anxiety will diminish.

These techniques will greatly improve your ability to sleep while traveling. Especially if you are prone to worry. Many resorts can refer you to guided meditation classes in the local community. This is a great way to invest in your own wellness while also encouraging better sleep.

5. Let Light Be Your Guide

The use of light can be important when it comes to getting quality sleep while traveling. This is especially true if you are traveling to a different time zone. In these instances, exposing yourself to sunlight during the late morning and early afternoon hours is recommended. This helps “reset your circadian rhythm” so that your sleep in the evening will be better.

In contrast, avoiding sunlight at other times of the day can help you get quality sleep at night. Ask your travel destination about light-blocking curtains and blinds before you book your accommodations. In fact, some wellness destinations even include lighting systems in their rooms now to facilitate better sleep. 

6. Get into the Local Vibe

It’s important to get on the local time schedule quickly. In most cases, this means suffering through your first day or so with a case of sleep deprivation. Using the other tips provided, it’s best to shift your schedule immediately to your destination’s timetable.

This will allow you to get better sleep while traveling in an efficient manner. And it will minimize the time you struggle in getting quality sleep. For most travelers, this can be accomplished within 48 hours of arriving if they adopt local time zones immediately.

7. Follow the Two-Day Rule

Generally it takes one to two days for travelers to achieve better sleep while traveling to new time zones. Therefore, if your travel takes you to a destination for two days or less, then it is best to maintain your prior sleep schedule. Using brief naps may be a good strategy in order to achieve adequate rest at times.

Exercise can provide a stimulating activity that can boost alertness for a period of time. By using these techniques and keeping your regular sleep schedule, you will be happy on your return home.

8. Heat Things Up for Better Sleep

Many travelers fail to realize that they can also use heat to get quality sleep when abroad. Heat stimulates the brain and body encouraging alertness. Therefore, several activities can be used during the morning hours to help reestablish a wake-sleep schedule. For example, a hot shower and hot tubs can accomplish this task quite well.

Morning exercise also heats the muscles and your core temperature, stimulating alertness. Many wellness resorts facilitate this through fitness boot camps and other programs. By employing these methods you can quickly attain better sleep while traveling.

9. Plan Your Sleep Ahead

Planning how you will approach sleep while traveling can help you attain quality sleep as well. For example, if you know how your sleep schedule will need to shift, then you can start this process beforehand. Moving your sleep times in the appropriate direction can give you a head start. In turn, this will make adjusting to a new time zone easier and less challenging.

As with many things, a little anticipation and planning can go a long way. 

10. Consider Sleep Aids If Needed

Ideally, other measures to promote quality sleep while traveling is the preferred approach. Be that as it may, sleep aids and medications may be necessary considerations. Melatonin is a more natural sleep aid because it is normally produced in the body.

By taking this during the day, melatonin has been found to help jet lag and assist with sleep at night. Other sleep aids may also be tried but many have side effects. Be sure to check with a physician before deciding if this is a good strategy for you.

Sleep Well, Be Well

The importance of quality sleep is increasingly recognized. Many travel resorts now offer wellness packages that include rooms designed to help you sleep while traveling. Exploring these types of wellness escapes is one approach in the pursuit of a good night’s rest in addition to these other strategies for ensuring you get the best sleep you can while traveling.

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