Over a year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease a global pandemic In 2021, many countries are still imposing lockdowns, safety protocols, and travel restrictions to help to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and its new variants.
In fact, all these new travel protocols are exactly why it’s also best to arm yourself with comprehensive knowledge about Covid-19 so you can have a safe, comfortable and restful trip.
Another perennial concern for every traveller is how to a good night’s sleep while travelling by land, sea, or air. COVID-19 restrictions are simply adding on to the usual stressors like losing your phone, travel sickness, and luggage not arriving can become. All of this can become inherently worse if you can’t get enough shut-eye.
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So, in the spirit of helping you get the rest you need during your next trip, I’d like to share my top sleep hacks for better sleep quality while travelling.
Tip #1: Bring your own mini pillow
This step can help you get a full night’s sleep in several scenarios. That includes travelling by planes, trains, and automobiles. Options like a memory foam pillow can also help you doze off when you sleep in a new bed, whether it’s a backpackers hostel or luxury hotel. Sleeping on your own pillow can provide home comfort while creating a sense of familiarity.
In fact, you can even purchase travel-friendly mini pillows. Who knows? You might find them to be comfier than those U-shaped neck pillows in planes and trains. You can bring these travel pillows with you during long car trips after your driving partner gets behind the wheel.
Tip #2: Pack the right sleep props
Here are some must-have items that can help to prevent sleepless nights while travelling:
Travel Pillow. You can combine your own mini pillow with the provided airline pillow for lumbar support and less back pain.
Eye Mask. This blocks out light from sources like phones and tablets. You should also consider dimming display screens since they can prevent sleep. An alternative option is a turned-down baseball cap. That’s right!
Noise-canceling Headphones. These provide two benefits. You can listen to white noise like nature sounds or relaxation music while blocking out sounds around you like engine noise or talking people.
Travel Blanket. This can keep you warm when the temperature drops in the plane, ship, etc. You can also buckle the seat belt over the blanket to prepare for air turbulence when flying.
Tip #3 Pick the right plane seat
This might seem like a trifling issue, but it can be a big factor in your sleep quality while travelling via a commercial airline. Here are some ideas to catch more zzz’s in the friendly skies:
Avoid bulkhead/exit row seat
The reasons might be surprising. Some bulkhead seats have armrests that you can’t raise. They’re also often reserved for families with babies and young children, which can prevent you from getting 40 winks at night.
Meanwhile, some exit row seats don’t recline as a safety measure.
Pick a window seat
This can help you sleep better, like learning how to choose a mattress for your home bedroom. Besides giving you a view of puffy clouds, you’ll also have something to lean on whether you catch a power nap or a full night’s sleep.
There’s more! You’ll also have control of the window shade to adjust how much light gets in. Yet another plus is there’s no rude awakening from people climbing over you to get to the aisle.
Weigh pros/cons of the plane’s rear
The rear of the plane often provides extra seats or even a whole row of empty seats. On the downside, it also might cause issues like loud engines.
Tip #4: Ditch caffeinated drinks
This is something you should normally do at night, but you should also definitely skip caffeine during daytime flights. That’s because it can heighten travel anxiety and this might consequentially let you lose sleep during your trip. When picking an item from the drink cart, pass on a cold soda or cup of coffee, and then stay on cloud nine enjoying a movie, music, or window scenery.
Tip #5: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
This can help to sustain your normal sleep/wake cycle even when you’re flying by plane, boat, or bus. Sleeping in a strange place will upend your regular sleep environment. The situation can become worse when you have to deal with issues related to indoor light, noise, and air temperatures.
Sticking to your regular bedtimes and wake times can help you to fall asleep faster and get more deep sleep. In fact, if you stay up later and sleep in later than normal, this can have a similar effect as a jet lag disorder. This condition even has a fancy term that includes sleeping in on weekends and holidays: social jet lag.
Sleeping in can also affect the overall quality of your trip. That includes less time for visiting tourist spots in the daytime.
Tip #6: Eat light before travelling and sleeping
This can help to avoid digestion problems while travelling and fall asleep faster at night. Try to avoid large meals, including fried and spicy food. Go with easy-to-digest light foods, including:
Tip #7: Plan sleep times and daytime naps
Nap times can be especially critical when you cross time zones and help you adjust to the local time. It’s not practical to set an exact time you’ll take a catnap.
Just try to set aside a time period for catching a power nap. Find the sweet spot where you feel rested but will still feel tired during your first night after the plane lands.
Bonus Tip: Airlines often serve meals that are in line with the local time where you’re arriving. Eating this meal can help your body and mind adjust to the time change.
Tip #8: Try body temperature hacks for better sleep
While sleeping in airplane cabins or hotel accommodations, for example, there’s a good chance the room will be too warm or cool. That can disrupt your sleep cycle. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to find your core body temperature’s sweet spot for better sleep:
Tweak the room temperature
Set the room temperature’s thermostat to 64°F/ 18°C. This is slightly lower than room temperature and offsets the skin temperature spiking during sleep.
Take a warm shower or bath
This can help to lower core body temperature. Studies show that bedtime bathing can boost your “deep sleep,” known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep by 10%.
Tip #9: Sleep in your PJs
Yes, you read that right. Make sure to bring soft and comfy nightclothes. Activewear and loungewear are some good alternatives if you’re not really comfortable wearing bunny pyjamas on a plane.
Tip #10: Do meditation, yoga, or prayer before sleeping
All these activities can help your body and mind to wind down. Studies show that these quiet activities might help to reduce heart and breathing rates. That can help you drift off to dreamland faster, so you’ll be fully charged for the next day.
It’s quite normal to have some stress about sleeping in a jet plane, coach bus, or ferry boat. The above-mentioned tips can help to reduce anxiety and avoid staying awake at bedtime. Relax! This will help to prepare your body and mind for slumber just as you would in your own cosy bedroom.
Brett is a writer at ID-Mag. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Brett dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Brett has probably reviewed them all. Brett also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep too!