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Message from the Timeshare Guru: I have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially when I travel. I usually all the first night in the hotel a throw away night as it is extremely rare to get a good nights sleep in a different bed and different surroundings. I'm always looking for ways to get a better night sleep. Sarah Cummings from The Sleep Advisor graciously agreed to write this guest post. There is some good information in this article even though I am a big fan of the night cap!
Make sure to check out some of her other articles!
How to Sleep Better on the Road
Being able to travel is a luxury and one we should always thank our lucky stars we are able to do. That’s not to say however that every thing about being on the road is fun. There’s the stomach bugs, the sunburn, and of course, the endless sleepless nights.
There a many reasons for this, overstimulation, overexhaustion, overeating and over drinking being four of the main culprits. But there’s also another potentially interesting reason for our inability to while away from home, evolutionary survival.
Yep, you heard me – evolutionary survival. Researchers have discovered that when we sleep in unfamiliar locations our brains simply refuse to close down properly. Instead a ‘lookout’ section of the brain stays alert and primed to respond to any dangers, be they a jaguar or an air conditioner making too much noise. Thanks brain!
So, if our own brains are working to prevent us from sleeping while traveling what can we do to ensure better sleep on the road? Well, don’t despair, read on below to discover the top three ways to increase your odds of a good night’s rest.
Two of the biggest culprits in keeping travelers awake are noise and light pollution. Fortunately both of these annoyances are very easily overcome. All it takes are two very lowtech sleep gadgets – the eye mask and some earplugs. Super lightweight and easy to pack, these two accessories are worth their weight in solid gold.
Weird noises are common when you sleep away from home. Be it amorous seagulls mating on the balcony or the wind blowing too vigorously through the palm leaves. A simple pair of earplugs will help block out whatever audio annoyance is preventing you from catching your dose of vitamin Zzzzs.
Light pollution plays havoc with your circadian rhythms. If there’s too much entering your bedroom it will delay the production of melatonin and you simply won’t get drowsy enough to fall asleep. A simple eye mask is the perfect solution to thread bare curtains, ill fitting blinds, full moons and antisocially early sunrises.
Need some more expert advice on how to banish your nighttime woes? Then visit the helpful team at the Sleep-Advisor for all the up-to-date tips and tricks you can handle.
Pack your pre-bed routine
Human beings are creatures of immense habit. Our body and mind adore routine. Whether you’re home or away the single best thing you can do for your sleep is adhere to a consistent bedtime. That means going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time day in, day out. Including weekends. Yep, your body doesn’t give two hoots if it’s a Friday or a Tuesday.
Don’t have a bedtime? Then get one. And stick to it! Bedtimes are not just for kids. While you’re at it work on a healthy bedtime routine. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s a simple set of easily repeatable low key actions that help to relax an overstimulated brain before bed.
Here’s an example. An hour before bed shut down all screens, yes that includes your smartphone. Write down a simple to-do list for the morning. Practice meditation or gentle yin yoga. Listen to music or read a book, fiction tends to work better. Have a bath or shower. Sleep.
That doesn’t sound too hard does it? Yet, the benefit it will have on you sleep is huge.
If you get into a healthy pre-bed wind-down routine at home, when you travel you can bring this set of activities with you and it will help your ability to sleep on the road immensely. Part of the problem of sleeping when traveling is that we change our routines too drastically and our body and mind don’t know if they are coming or going. A pre-bed routine will help steady the ship.
Skip the night cap
You’re not going to like this one. One of the biggest reasons we all tend to sleep worse when on holiday is that we tend to overindulge a little bit too much. Be that cocktails by the pool or a few too many nightcaps in the bar. Despite what many people believe alcohol before bed is bad idea.
Alcohol is a muscle relaxant, a depressant and sedative which is why we like it, a few drinks takes the hard edge of any day and puts us in a nice calm mood. Perfect you would think for sleep? It’s true drink will help most people fall asleep. However falling asleep and staying asleep are two very different things.
Once the alcohol in those margaritas begins to be flushed by your liver and kidneys, the brain experiences what is known as rebound alertness. This spike in alertness leads to nights of broken sleep.
Plus alcohol in the system also prevents the brain from entering REM sleep, this is the truly good stuff that powers us through the following day. So even if we’re able to sleep after a bellyful of booze, the sleep we get isn’t that effective.
So, if you want to improve your odds of a good night’s sleep when on the road, maybe it’s time to put a cap on the nightcap and save the boozing for lunchtime.
Well, there you have it travel fans – three top tips on how to sleep better on the road. Why not give them a whirl. Here’s to sunkissed days and sleep filled nights!
Message from the Timeshare Guru: Again, a big thank you to Sarah Cummings for providing this article. I hope that it was useful and you check out some of her other articles on The Sleep Advisor.