Hydration is important, and is connected to the types and amounts of liquid that you consume. However, when traveling, it's easy to overindulge in drinks that we normally wouldn't because of how much traveling can throw off our normal schedule. We may consume less water, and find ourselves drinking more unhealthy beverages. Unfortunately, poor drink choices on vacation can lead to dehydration which can impact sleep even more than traveling already does. Continue reading to find out more about this relationship and how you can help yourself get better sleep on vacation.
How your beverage choices can affect your sleep
Dehydration can cause extreme fatigue and drowsiness, as well as discomfort from dry mouth, headaches, and cramps that can interfere with sleep. Beverages can also impact sleep if they impact the brain or other body regions. Alcohol and caffeine are two examples of beverages that can impact other parts of the body.
Also the amount of beverages you drink can affect you sleep if you are constantly having to get up and go to the bathroom throughout the night. Late night or significant consumption of diuretics like alcohol or caffeine can also cause this problem.
Beverages to Avoid While Traveling
Alcohol can degrade sleep quality even if it seems like it makes it easier to sleep because of their sedative effects. As a result, alcohol can worsen sleep problems that could already be in play like jet lag, snoring, and sleep apnea.
Alcohol can affect decision making and altitude can increase the effects of alcohol which can increase the risk of impairment while drinking on flights. If you are going to consume alcohol during trips, consider drinking it in small quantities and a few hours before bedtime.
Coffee and Tea
Both coffee and tea contain caffeine. Caffeine is a safe chemical that causes stimulation of the brain. Drinking coffee in the afternoon or evening can disrupt your sleep efforts. Caffeine sensitivity also varies person to person, so it's best to avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bed.
Caffeine may be a great energy booster earlier in the day, but this same effect can be antagonistic towards sleep efforts late at night.
Energy drinks are sold as either large cans or very small shots of caffeine. They are normally very highly concentrated with caffeine as well as containing other substances designed to stimulate you and keep you awake. The concentration of caffeine is considerably higher than in coffee or tea and can cause bodily stress from overstimulation. This is why it's important to avoid them while sleeping. They can overstimulate your brain and cause you to be overalert, then you should avoid them for a minimum of six hours before you plan to go to bed. Don't drink them with alcohol and avoid rapidly consuming them.
Soda contains caffeine and should be drank in moderation and with caution to avoid disruption to sleep. You should avoid it at least six hours before bed time if it does have caffeine. Furthermore, soda has a high sugar content that can cause spikes in and crashes in your blood sugar. This can also disturb your sleep as your hormone levels constantly fluctuate. Soda is associated with increased weight gain, issues with diabetes, and other hormonal changes that are antagonistic towards sleep.
Soda is also a carbonated drink, as well as sparkling water. Carbonation can lead to abdominal bloating and discomfort. When trying to sleep, excess pressure in your abdomen can make it very difficult to find a comfortable enough position to fall asleep so you should avoid them before and after a flight.
Best Beverages to Drink While Traveling
The best thing to drink while traveling is water. It provides you with the necessary hydration without negatively impacting your sleep. Low-calorie options for those that don't like water include flavored water, sparkling water, milk and juices (as long as they don't contain too much sugar or calories). Rehydration salts are also key to keep with you in your travel gear in case you end up being sick.
If you have difficulty sleeping while traveling and traveling is a large part of your life, then it's important to find a solution. Click the orange button below to take a free online sleep test and get in contact with one of our sleep health professionals who can help you overcome these disturbances.