Traveling is a huge part of life and can be so much fun. However, traveling is exhausting, and it can be so difficult to get good sleep when you are moving in between time zones and sleeping in a different room. However, if you hope to get a good amount of sleep in order to enjoy your travels, then it's imperative you maintain a good sleep schedule. Here are a few tips you can do to maintain your sleep schedule while traveling.
Prepare for time zone changes
The hardest part of traveling is the time zone change. Your body is so accustomed to the sun rising and setting at certain times, that when you travel to a new time zone, it throws off your whole circadian rhythm.
Although you cannot truly adjust your circadian rhythm by a lot, you can try to prepare for time zone changes. The rule of thumb is to go to sleep and hour later or earlier for each hour change.
For example, if you are traveling somewhere an hour ahead, then you should go to sleep an hour later the day before you are set to leave. However, if you are traveling somewhere six hours ahead, then you should go to sleep an hour earlier six days in advance and keep moving back an hour each day until you travel.
Sleep when the locals sleep
After a long day of traveling, nothing sounds better than passing out and taking a great nap. Even sleeping on the plane or in the car may sound like a great idea. However, you should sleep when the locals sleep. If it's day time during traveling, then try and stay up so you don't impact your sleeping schedule.
If it's nighttime when you are traveling, try to sleep (IF YOU'RE NOT DRIVING) so you can maintain your same sleep schedule. Even if you have to stay up a little longer than what you would normally, it's worth it if you can adjust to time changes.
Maintain your sleep hygiene
An important practice for getting good sleep is to have good sleep hygiene, or a sleep routine. Sleep hygiene helps to train your brain so that it can prepare for sleep and start winding down. You can develop this before you travel, creating a set routine that you go through every night. This could include stretching, tea, reading, and many other activities.
Continue these activities as you travel. By keeping a routine, your brain will get the signal that it's time to go to bed. You may not be able to do things like bathe if you don't feel comfortable, but you can still read the same books, take the same teas with you, and do other parts of your sleep hygiene.
Copy your sleep environment
Sleeping in strange environments can be unsettling. It can be so difficult to feel comfortable sleeping in a bed or room that is not yours. Do what you can to make your sleep environment feel normal to you.
If it makes you feel better to wipe down and spray your room to clean, then do so. You can also take blankets from your homes, aroma devices and even play a copy of the noises you normally hear in your background. Set the thermostat to a similar temperature and try to mimic the light exposure. Make whatever adjustments you can to help you fall asleep with ease.
Take melatonin or sleep aids
If you truly are having trouble sleeping, then there is nothing wrong with taking melatonin or sleep aids. Although you should still make the aforementioned adjustments, it may be helpful to provide your body with a little extra help to get to sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping, even outside of travel, then please take the free online sleep test below.