Travel can be hectic and harrowing. It changes one’s environment and established routines, and many travelers find it hard to sleep while they are on the road. This is an important issue because being well-rested is good for your mental and physical health, and good for your productivity – all crucial components to ensure you’re working to your fullest potential.
Don’t let business trips ruin your rhythms. Instead, follow these tips to stay rested no matter where you’re traveling.
Be Careful With Caffeine
For many, caffeine is the lifeblood of morning: it gives us the jolt we need to get out of bed and start the day. The problem is, caffeine metabolizes very slowly. In fact, it takes over 24 hours to completely metabolize in the body. Because of this, the very coffee a person “needs” to wake up could be the very thing keeping them from sleep.
Experts suggest that you stop drinking caffeine at least 10 hours before bed. This is especially pertinent for travelers, who often use innumerable cups of coffee to fuel themselves through plane rides, conferences, and hotel check-ins. If you find yourself look for something to fuel your day, try herbal tea or another beverage with a lower caffeine content than coffee. It may be an adjustment at first, but you’ll have an easier time sleeping that night.
Exercise, But Not In The Evening
Traveling throws off all of our routines – exercise included. However, exercise is an important way to rid yourself of excess energy and stress, which can keep you up at night. Even if you are traveling, try to fit in some light to moderate exercise every day – but not within two hours of bedtime. If you do, the endorphins will still be rushing through your body when you try to sleep.
Make It Feel Like Home
One of the reasons it can be difficult to sleep while you’re traveling is because you are away from home. Home is a comforting place, and this comfort helps us sleep. To make sleeping in strange beds easier, try to make your hotel room feel like home.
You can accomplish this by “tricking” your senses: make your hotel room look, smell and sound more familiar by displaying pictures of your loved ones on your nightstand, or playing familiar music. You can bring the “smell” of home with you either with scented candles, or even dryer sheets. We also recommend bringing a few of your favorite snacks, and a few home essentials, such as your pillow or slippers.
Avoid Technology At Night
Much like caffeine, many of us are addicted to our laptops, smartphones, and other devices. While these are a staple of modern life, they also hurt our sleep patterns. The screens on these devices emit daylight-spectrum light, which tricks our brains into believing it is time to be awake. Looking at these screens in bed basically fools one’s brain into thinking it is morning.
Try to avoid screens like these for at least an hour before bed. Give yourself time to unwind and de-stress, perhaps by reading or meditating, and don’t let technology rob you of your rest.
Plan Ahead For Changing Time Zones
Sleeping well is especially difficult when you travel between time zones. In situations like this, experts suggest that you prepare ahead of time. Starting a few days before your departure, push your bedtime back 15 minutes every night. This will help you adjust your sleeping patterns, so that you will be on schedule from the minute you arrive at your destination.
Follow these tips to ensure that stay rested, and therefore healthier and more productive on your next trip. It only takes a few simple steps and a little preparation to achieve better night’s rest.