While traveling you may find yourself sleeping in less than ideal conditions.
There are hotels with cardboard for walls, street lamps that shine through the only crack in the curtains, and nights that are just a few degrees colder than you were expecting.
As incredible as traveling can be, it is also exhausting. With so many different competing factors and new stimuli competing for your attention, it’s no wonder getting a decent night’s rest while travelling is as difficult as it is.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of traveling and seeing new things that you forget to take care of yourself and invest in one of the most important things to keep you running: sleep.
Fear not – we have several suggestions that are sure to help you get that sleep you crave while on your next adventure.
Bring Your Sleep Accessories
If you don’t want to hear the soccer team down the hall celebrating or spend your night shivering, then I suggest bringing a few sleep accessories for a good night’s rest. Earplugs, sleep masks, an extra blanket, a compact sleep mattress, and white noise generator apps are all good ideas that can save your night.
Use earplugs to sleep comfortably knowing your hostel roommate’s snores won’t keep you up. Block out the light from an early sunrise in your campervan with a sleep mask. Use the extra blankets for warmth when you can’t figure out the foreign heating system.
There are a wide variety of sleeping mats and very portable air mattresses that can be an excellent choice for people unsure of the quality of the sleeping surfaces at their destinations. A portable travel mattress can very easily deflate to the size of a jacket and can be a big help in certain situations.
You’ll also want to find a good app for your phone that will play different types of white noise throughout the night. White noise is essential to blocking out extra noises that you’re not used to, creating a soothing blanket of steady sound to make those one-off noises less disturbing. Do make sure your phone is plugged in so that the app doesn’t drain your battery overnight.
Keep Some Semblance Of A Routine
It’s okay to let loose and live life but it is also important to remember the benefits of a routine.
There are so many things to do while you’re traveling and the combined excitement of all of these things will give you an extra adrenaline boost that may make sleeping difficult.
Whether you’re practicing your iPhone photography on all of the beautiful, yummy dishes you encounter, touring the different sights around town or checking out different nightlife spots – you’re bound to have broken your typical routine a hundred times over.
Exercise & Diet Is Still Important
Your body and mind need the right fuel, exercise, and sleep to function; everything in the body is connected. So the more you focus on a healthy diet and exercise regime, the easier it is to control sleep.
Try all the yummy dishes in your travels, just keep in mind what the influx in sugar, caffeine, and alcohol might do to your body’s routine and, therefore, your sleep.
Make sure you’re exercising enough. This doesn’t necessarily mean finding a gym and spending hours on a treadmill but it can be helpful to choose to walk to your next location rather than taking a vehicle (if that’s an option).
If you’re exercising more than usual, add in some stretches at the end of the day to relieve tension from your muscles. Don’t overdo it.
Don’t Neglect Hygiene
For those who travel off the beaten path or are trying the van life, maintaining hygiene can go a long way towards feeling comfortable, clean and ready for bed and aim to go to bed around the same time each night.
Although you may find yourself in a new city, keeping some semblance of your normal routine will help.
Travel is expensive and adding extra costs on top of the basics can be difficult. This can lead to night after night of “just okay” places that you sleep in.
While it is important to stay within your means, don’t be afraid to treat yourself (if you can swing it).
If you’ve spent all week hiking or had the worst sleep of your life the night before, consider an upgrade for an evening.
Choose that single room or a hotel over a hostel. Get an ensuite, a tub, room service or a massage. It’s OK to relax for an evening of added luxuries, which might just help you sleep better.
Mental Health Is Important For Quality Sleep
Just because you’re off exploring the world doesn’t always mean you’re living your best life. It is important to learn how mental health affects your sleep and how to properly take care of yourself. It’s hard to fall asleep when your mind won’t stop running.
Make sure that you are in a safe place. You can’t let your mind relax and sleep if you’re scared in a sketchy hotel. If you don’t feel safe, get out of there and go somewhere else (if at all possible).
Traveling can be lonely, especially if you’re somewhere you don’t know the language, so try to keep in touch with loved ones or new friends you’ve made. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to lunch or for travel recommendations.
Bring A Touch Of Home
If you’re feeling homesick, I recommend doing something you do at home. It can be chilling in bed with a book or watching your favorite show on Netflix. Having a go-to activity wherever you go can help you calm your mind. For me, my happy place is a bookstore with a cup of tea in hand. For others, it’s horseback riding, hiking or live music.
Keep A Journal
Keeping a journal is always a good way to save memories and work through your feelings. Taking these steps and moments for yourself can help you evaluate your mental health while traveling. When you’re in a good place mentally, sleep can find you much more effortlessly.
BYOP, Bring Your Own Pillow
Whether you’re staying in hotels, hostels or someplace else, you will find pillows of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, this includes paper thin pillows, lumpy ones and even ones with concerning stains. I know, this isn’t a luxury all travelers will be able to swing. However, if you’re road-tripping or have extra room in your suitcase, having your own pillow is a great way for consistent comfort.
For those of you who can’t carry a pillow with them or pick one up where they’re going, consider bringing a pillowcase from home. This is what I do for all my trips. I always know it’s clean and it provides a sense of home, making each sleep a little easier.
Prioritize Your Sleep (Or Atleast Consider Doing So)
If you have FOMO like myself, it can be hard to stay behind and opt for an evening in. However, it can be very important for your body and mind to take that night of rest if you need it.
There have been days travelling that I was so tired I came across disinterested and grumpy to everyone I was meeting. Or maybe you have a concert to attend and all you can focus on is your racking headache from the night before.
Of course you can go out and have fun, but remember you will only get the best out of your travels if you have your full energy. So this tip is to remind you to prioritize sleep, you have to commit to a night’s rest in order for it to happen. Listen to your body.
There are many factors that go into a good night’s sleep that it’s hard to know where to start. Just remember to control the variables you can, and try not to get hung up on those you can’t. Be prepared with the accessories you need, and take care of your body and mind while travelling.
While consistency is key, don’t forget to treat yourself. Happy and safe travels.