Are you struggling with falling asleep in a memory foam mattress queen of your hotel in a foreign place? Well, don’t blame the bed or the pillows. Instead, one that should be blamed your hyper-vigilant mind. According to a study released in Current Biology, it seems that half of our brain may stay alert when you stay in an unfamiliar location when you’re away from home.
Traveling in a different location can throw our daily routines out of sync. Unfortunately, a long flight across various zones and staying out all day in a new destination could cause a significant disturbance to our sleep schedule.
Staying well-rested while traveling is essential to prevent getting exhausted and ensure that you have power for all the exploration for your journey. To help you with this, here are six tips for better sleep during travel:
Tip No. 1: Have a plan upon arrival
When you arrive at the new location during the day, make sure you have prepared a plan for the first day to combat the jet lag. If you don’t have anything scheduled, it will be easier for your body to surrender to fatigue, making it much more challenging to adapt.
If your tickets are already booked, it’s much better to have pre-set plans to inspire you to get out and explore. Make sure to choose for a hotel with options between mattress pad vs. topper so you can pick the one the suits your sleeping preference. Also, it will make it a lot easier for you to fall asleep at night.
Tip No. 2: Drink water
While inside the aircraft, you’ll see your skin stretching and drying up because the air is usually quite dry. Throughout the flight, dehydration is one of the leading causes of jet lag. Thus, you should get a glass of water every now and then to ensure your hydration at a healthy level.
But when you’re up high, you must avoid getting liquor for it becomes pretty strong and toxic. For instance, you could think a glass of red wine can make you fall asleep–which could be entirely accurate–but it only has a fleeting effect. Another drink to avoid in your list is caffeine. It will dehydrate you and leave you exhausted even more. So, it’s better to choose water over caffeine or alcohol while you’re on the flight.
Tip No. 3: Choose your seat wisely
Everybody has a different idea for the perfect seat on the plane, but the window seat is probably the best place to sleep. Sitting by the window gives you something to lean on, that is far more relaxing than sleeping upright.
Additionally, the window seat also keeps you away from getting interrupted by other travelers in the aisle when they need to use the bathroom. This seat also ensures that you have control over the shade of the window. In this way, you won’t get woken up by someone looking outside the window.
Tip No. 4: Take it easy for the first few days
After a long and tiring flight, your body needs some time to make a pretty big effort, and it certainly deserves some time to catch up. When you travel from a cold climate to a hot environment or vice versa, it takes an unfortunate toll on your body and needs to acclimatize for a couple of days.
Never underestimate your body if you feel sleepy and tired. Before diving into a great adventure and go on a trek, you should take a short walk first and go easy on yourself. If you’re trouble falling asleep at night, do a more intense exercise or a light job when you arrived at your new destination.
After a tiring work out, you may fall into your bed feeling exhausted and sleepy. You keep in mind that a healthy combination of exercise and relaxation is what you need for the first couple of days in a new location.
Tip No. 5: Adjust yourself to the daily rhythm of your destination
The very best way to fight jet lag is to get the rhythm in your destination the minute you get off the plane. Though it’s tough at times, you have to resist the urge of snoozing after a long flight, especially the beds are very tempting. A morning nap is ineffective and can make your jet lag.
If you get there early the next morning, it’s acceptable to give your body a few hours of rest in your memory foam pillow if you feel tired. However, you should make sure that you get up again late in the morning or afternoon. Your first day in a new place is extremely crucial. Depending on your body, you may wake up several times in the middle of the night, or sleep through it because of exhaustion.
Go outside, get something to drink, and keep relaxed for quite a while in your new place. Even if you don’t feel like eating, you need something small to consume if it fits what the locals are doing at that particular time of day.
In the morning, going out can help your body adjust to the new climate. Because most of the jet lag is a mental game, don’t worry about that too much. Don’t think about the time at your original location or what you would do if you’d be there.
Enjoy your new time zone! For instance, have some breakfast if it’s already morning at your new location. Do it also even if it’s dinner at your home. Don’t worry about what’s happening back home.
Tip No. 6: Go out into the daylight or make things really dark
Sunlight stimulates your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that leaves you feeling exhausted so you can sleep. Enjoy the benefits of this hormone by leaving the light on while you’re on the plane. Also, fresh air can energize the body after a long flight since the air inside the plane is so dry. By doing these things can wake you up more quickly.
Do not take sleeping pills if you’re having a hard time falling asleep. They work only on a short-term basis and creates even more confusion in your system. Consider this alternative: darken the sleeping area by placing an eye mask on it, and use a noise-canceling earphone. This technique can definitely calm you down and help you unwind during the flight. If you don’t have any idea on what playlist to choose, you can listen to an audiobook to help you fall asleep faster.
Final Words: Don’t Make Jet Lag Any Worse
Sadly, there really is no one, universal hack that you can use to fight jet lag. The tips listed could only help you reduce the results and fall asleep better, but the effects will not simply vanish.
In certain situations, the most useful thing to do is stay awake and should not be tempted to head back to your hotel. Maybe, you can bring your mattress in a box with you so it will be much easier for you to adjust to a new environment. You’re going to be over your jet lag for a couple of days anyway, and you can dive into your new exciting adventures!