It's peak travel season, with many flying or driving across state lines to spend quality time with family this holiday season. The process of getting to your destination is often the worst part. From uncomfortable, bumpy commutes to the jet lag that comes with crossing time zones, sleep quality is often a casualty. This is especially true if the trip itself makes you anxious. All of these interruptions can also cause travel fatigue, which can leave you feeling dizzy, irritable, and exhausted.
A full night's sleep is a crucial part of maintaining your physical and mental health. It promotes brain function, repairs muscle tissue and improves your mood so you can perform at your best while you're away. Consider the tips below to help cure sleep problems on your next trip and sleep better while traveling.
For more advice on how to sleep better this season, here are seven ways to minimize the impact of jet lag It is how to adjust now that it gets dark earlier.
What is travel fatigue?
Travel fatigue it is the physical manifestation of travel complaints. This can happen in cases such as: anxiety when flying by plane, planning stress, long layovers, delayed flights or lack of sleep during the trip. Even though you may be mentally exhausted, travel fatigue can make it difficult to get restful sleep.
In addition to the tiredness of the trip, jet lag while traveling it can also make it difficult to get quality sleep. Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that develops when you cross time zones and your body becomes out of tune with its normal sleep-wake cycle.
Our body depends heavily on external factors such as sunset, sunrise, and meal times to regulate melatonin release. As a result, your body has difficulty readjusting during travel, leaving you tired and having difficulty concentrating.
How to sleep better while traveling
Combat travel fatigue, jet lag, and uncomfortable sleeping situations by following these tips.
Prepare your body for the new schedule
Starting three days before you travel, set your bedtime an hour later (depending on the time zone you're traveling from) each day. This will help your body get used to the new time change you'll experience in a few days and allow you to fall asleep at a reasonable time when you're away.
An exception to this rule: If you expect to cross time zones for just two days, stick to your regular sleep schedule. Once you've adjusted to the new schedule, you'll be getting ready to head home.
Do as the locals do
Once you arrive at your destination, try to sync with their schedule. When people are awake in the morning and going about their daily lives, you should be too. When people around you are getting ready for bed, you should be ready for sleep too. Unless your stay lasts two days, this will help your body readjust, even if it means you'll be half-asleep by dinner.
Pack your most comfortable clothes for traveling and a good quality pillow to sleep if you can put it inside your suitcase. Loose fabrics can help you feel comfortable while traveling long distances, which is key if you want to get some sleep while traveling.
A pillow can also make it easier to fall asleep. Bring a standard pillow for the backseat of a car or a C-shaped pillow to wrap around your neck while on a plane or train.
If you have to stay awake, keep walking
Just like light, body temperature also plays an important role in regulating our sleep-wake cycles. If your body temperature is higher, it's a sign that it's time to wake up. It's a reason why hot sleepers They may have trouble getting quality sleep if they are too hot. By keeping your body moving and your heart rate up, you can help combat the grogginess and fatigue that come with traveling.
Eat nutritiously and drink water
Staying hydrated and eating well while traveling will not only help you stay fueled for the different legs of the trip, but it will also prevent you from feeling hungry or thirsty if you want to nap on the plane or in the car.
Use the light to your advantage
The sun is a sign for our circadian rhythm that it's time to wake up, and the night tells us it's time to sleep.
If you travel from west to east, the best times of day to get light exposure are late morning and late afternoon. This way, you stay awake and alert during the day, but give your body a chance to relax at night. If you travel from west to east, stay in the sun until evening to help adjust to the new schedule.
See more information: How to deal with seasonal affective disorder
Avoid alcohol on the first day
Listen to me. As fun as it is to have a drink on the plane on the way to your destination or at dinner when you arrive, alcohol disrupts your sleep-wake cycle. This is something you want to avoid during the first day of adjusting to your new schedule.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants this will make your body feel like it wants to be awake. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to five to six hours, making you feel wired when you should be winding down for sleep. Nicotine, on the other hand, triggers cravings and has no time limit. This means you may lie awake in bed feeling tired, but your body stays awake wanting more nicotine.
Use natural sleep aids
Melatonin is always an option, but I'm always careful about recommending it because it can disrupt the body's natural melatonin production. Alternatively, consider using natural sleeping pills to help you fall asleep at night, such as herbal tea or CBD oil.