We can all agree that travel is fun but exhausting. At some point, it may feel like you need a vacation from a vacation! You know that feeling when you’re drained but want to keep exploring because you’re in a foreign destination? It’s a weird sense of a tug-o-war and we totally get it.
Our precious sleep gets skewed when we travel. We fall victim to jet lag, eat differently than we do at home, and we try to get comfortable in a new environment in a short period of time. Our bodies are like, what’s going on out there?! So it makes sense that we get cranky when we don’t get enough shuteye. But just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you can’t take care of yourself. Here’s how to form a sleep routine when you travel.
Adjust to the Time Zone
When you land in a destination that’s a few time zones away, try your best to get your body on local time. Jet lag is a sneaky villain — don’t let it get the best of you. When you’re on the plane, snuggle up with a comfy travel pillow. Memory foam will give you the best neck support for some Zzz’s. Don’t forget ear plugs, eye mask, and blanket to help you get comfortable.
To offset the effects of jet lag, stay hydrated, step into the sunlight, and go for a walk. On your first day in a new place, get your body moving and in sync with the locals. It’s helpful to try to adjust your eating patterns to the local time and establish a normal sleep schedule by hitting the hay at a decent hour.
It’s easy to get caught up in a blur of activities when you travel. You might go shopping in the morning, venture on a four-hour hike in the afternoon, then go for a swim, then out to dinner and by the time you get back to your hotel it feels like you haven’t slept in years. (No exaggeration!) Especially when you’re in a new time zone, it feels like you’re on a different planet.
Part of being on vacation is putting your feet up and taking a few deep breaths. Take time out of the day to unwind and destress. Are you close to the beach? Grab a book and sit in the sun for a few hours. In a big city? Pop into a local yoga class to align your chakras. It’s possible to relax and explore a foreign destination at the same time.
Set an Alarm and Do Your Morning Routine
Establishing a sleep pattern is important when you’re on holiday. You don’t want to throw all your healthy habits out the window because that will make it harder when you zoom back to reality at home. Set an alarm so that you wake up at a decent hour and practice the same morning routine that you have at home (but at a less frantic pace).
Wake up, get your body moving, eat a healthy breakfast, take a shower, get dressed — do what you gotta do to morph into your human self again. The best part about doing your normal routine while traveling is that you can be as slow about it as you want! Setting an alarm will help you practice your daily habits and establish a consistent sleep schedule.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Being on holiday is a great time to cut down on caffeine, as you don’t need to rely on coffee to power you into the work day. Wake up and be energised by the fact that you don’t have to work… you’re on holiday! Staying away from caffeine when you’re travelling will help you form a sleep routine. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 24 hours and will get in the way of your body’s internal clock, which is trying to adjust to the local time. If you can’t quit entirely, caffeine should be avoided at least three to seven hours before going to sleep, according to the Sleep Health Foundation.
We know by now that alcohol affects the quality and quantity of our sleep. It interrupts our circadian rhythm, blocks REM sleep, and contributes to multiple bathroom trips throughout the night. We’re not telling you to not drink on vacation (that would be heartless of us), but rather avoid disturbances to your sleep cycle by not drinking so close to bedtime. Just as caffeine should be avoided right before bed, so should alcohol.
Create a Relaxing Environment
A major key in forming a sleep routine when you travel is creating a relaxing environment. It’s not easy getting shut-eye when you’re sharing a dorm in a hostel or sleeping in a bed that’s not as comfy as your own.
Having something from home will help you relax in a foreign environment. Take your Ecosa memory foam pillow and silk pillowcase with you when you travel. It can easily roll up and fit in your carry on, or be compressed into your suitcase in the vacuum seal bag.
It might also help to sleep on the same side of the bed that you do at home, pack your comfiest pyjamas, and watch the Netflix show you’ve been binging. Continue your usual bedtime routine so that you sleep better and feel well rested on the road.
Forming a sleep routine when travelling doesn’t have to be a hassle. Keep these travel tips in mind and try packing your memory foam pillow for your next trip.