How to Improve Sleep While Traveling

These tips can help you get better sleep on-the-go so that you can enjoy your adventures more fully.

In the next few months, the cold will start to abate and spring will arrive. With spring comes planning for trips: Spring Break, summer vacations, cruises, camping, hiking and more will be on many Americans’ horizons. 

But what’s the use of a vacation if you’re tired the entire time? We all know that sleeping in another bed, whether in an RV or a hotel, feels weird. We don’t sleep as long, fall asleep as easily, and don’t sleep as deeply. That can leave us with less energy to enjoy all those activities we planned and paid for. 

As we mentioned in our Sleep Hygiene blog post, routine is key for quality and location plays a huge part in your sleep routine. Even if your sleeping arrangements are objectively comfortable, a change in location can immediately decrease your sleep quality. In addition, Sleep Foundation says that several aspects of traveling (from flying to being seated to general trip anxiety) can induce “travel fatigue,” which commonly has symptoms such as loss of sleep and headaches. 

So how do you sleep better while traveling? Below are a few tips.

Practice as much sleep hygiene as possible

This is the basic – just because one aspect of sleep hygiene has changed doesn’t mean that your whole routine has to be thrown out the window with it. If you can’t have your location be the same, then try to follow as many other aspects of sleep hygiene as possible.

These aspects of sleep hygiene can be followed, even while traveling: 

  • Eating a healthy diet containing fruits, veggies, and plenty of water
  • Keep alcohol and caffeine intake under control and limit it to reasonable times of day
  • Get some daily exercise, even if it’s just stretches
  • Clear your mind using meditation or mindfulness techniques to relax

Bring tools to help you sleep

There is an entire industry surrounding sleep products for travelers, and that’s not for nothing! There are lots of fun little gadgets that may help improve your sleep quality while on the road. 

Some of these tools can be as cheap as a snack; some can be an investment. You may have to do some experimentation to figure out which ones work for you. 

If you have the time and money, here are a few tools to bring with you if you frequently struggle with sleep on trips: 

  • Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs
  • Sleep mask
  • Personal white noise machine or an app for meditations or relaxing sounds
  • Sleeping bag liners to avoid scratchy fabrics in hotel sheets or other people’s mattresses
  • Inflatable or compact neck pillows

Sleeping pills should be used in moderation, as they have significantly more side effects than a pillow or white-noise machine and their effects can last for over a day. 

Dress to recline

If you know that you’ll need to sleep in a moving vehicle – and are aware that this is hard for you to do – then try to dress comfortably (and warmly, if the climate demands an extra layer) in loose-fitting and breathable clothing. 

And, if you’re able, recline your seat. A study published in Chronobiology International in 2017 showed that sleeping in a reclined position, as opposed to an upright position, significantly benefits your total sleep and REM sleep. 

A word to the wise: if you’re seated in front of someone, ask permission of the person seated behind you before reclining your seat. We don’t want to slam anyone’s knees. 

Thanks for reading our article! If you’re looking for an affordable mattress that will help you get better sleep, alleviate pain, and last a long time, talk to Wolf! We’d love to show you our American-made mattresses and help you get the best sleep of your life on your budget. 

Wolf Mattress

American Made Since 1873

3434 S. Maplecrest Rd.

Fort Wayne, IN

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