Traveling can be an incredible experience. Whether you're headed to a new part of the U.S. for work or flying overseas on an exotic vacation, there are things to see, foods to try and experiences to be had wherever you're going. But few things can derail your enjoyment of time spent away from home like the exhaustion that inevitably results when you don't sleep well. And unfortunately, traveling is one of the times when interrupted zzz's occur most frequently.
To maximize the time spent on your trip by getting the best possible rest while you're gone, follow these six tips to enjoy better sleep while traveling:
1. Book your room carefully
While you can't always ensure that your hotel room will be quiet, there are ways to hedge your odds. When you book your room, ask to avoid the lower floors, as well as hallways near the elevator or vending machines. Avoiding these areas will decrease your odds of getting kept up at night by outside noise. But packing noise-cancelling headphones or a pair of ear plugs just in case is always a good idea, regardless of where you'll be staying.
2. Get exercise
Even if you're on a luxurious vacation, making time for exercise is a must. Being active during the day will help you fall asleep faster at night. If you have the chance, consider walking to a nearby destination rather than taking a cab. Or if your hotel has a gym, you might want to throw on your sneakers and spend some time on the treadmill. Regardless of what you choose, avoid exercising right before bed. That will likely keep you awake – the exact opposite of what you want.
3. Drink water
When traveling, hydration is critical. In an article for The Huffington Post, Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D., a board-certified sleep specialist and chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, wrote that dehydration is a cause of fatigue during travel. This is especially true when you fly. The cabins of planes can become fairly dry, so be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your flight. Not only will this help you sleep better, it will also give you more energy during the day to enjoy the activities you have planned.
4. Pamper yourself
Traveling can take a lot out of you. Whether you had to deal with the hassle of a delayed flight or lost luggage, that stress can keep you from enjoying a pleasant night's sleep. Get rid of that tension by taking time to pamper yourself. Depending on the options offered at or near your hotel, schedule a massage or indulge in a spa package to help you get the zzz's you need to make the most of your trip. Even if you're traveling for work, finding time for yourself will likely make you more productive when it's time for meetings.
5. Personalize your room
Being away from home can make things a little disorienting when it's time to sleep. In an article for Conde Nast Traveler, The Benjamin Hotel's sleep expert, Rebecca Robbins, recommended making your room feel a bit more like the space that you're used to by bringing a few select touches. Choose items that are easy to pack, like a picture of your family, a favorite pair of fuzzy socks or your personal alarm clock. Having these items on hand at bedtime may help you relax and fall asleep. If you usually use a certain type of pillow, such as foam as opposed to feather, call the hotel in advance to see if it can send one to your room.
6. Keep a bedtime routine
Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, chances are that you have a packed itinerary. While it might be tempting to stay out until the last possible moment to make the most of your time away, you should be sure to give yourself enough time to indulge in your normal bedtime routine. If you usually read for half an hour before falling asleep or grab a quick snack prior to getting in bed, try to stick as closely as possible to those habits. Your body is likely accustomed to your normal routine, so altering that routine may make it harder for you to fall asleep.
7. Skip the alcohol
When you have trouble falling asleep a nightcap might be tempting, but Robbins advised staying away from alcohol. While it's true that an alcoholic beverage will make you sleepy, it's also a REM sleep inhibitor, Robbins reported, which means you won't rest well even when you fall asleep. If you want a drink before you climb into bed, consider a glass of warm milk or herbal tea instead. Your body will thank you in the morning.
8. Pack your IMAK®Compression mask
Finally, be sure to pack a sleep mask to use when you're ready to snooze. The IMAK® Compression Eye Pillow is a comfortable way to block out the light in a hotel room, on a plane or anywhere else your travels take you. The mask is filled with smooth ergoBeads for a massaging effect around the eyes and it can be placed in your mini fridge to provide cool relief as you unwind before bed. No matter where you're headed, pack your IMAK® mask to help you sleep better while away from home.