Have you ever noticed how exhaustedly tired you get that first night on vacation? Or, even worse, the night when you finally get back home? Sure, some of that’s adrenaline and excitement…
But it’s mostly because we don’t tend to sleep very well when we’re out of our routines.
When you’re on vacation, you should be well-rested. The better rested you are, the more vivid your memories will be, and the more you fully experience each moment!
Next time you travel, try bringing an emergency sleep kit. That way, you can feel as if you’re resting comfortably in your own bed.
Here are some of the essentials
1. An eye mask that does a great job of blocking out light
Artificial light is even more distracting than noise. Light disrupts your body’s natural sleeping process, and even suppresses melatonin. Melatonin imbalance is common in insomnia cases.
Rather than assume your room has blackout curtains, why not bring along an eye mask? An eye mask blocks all light from your vision, ensuring artificial or even natural light doesn’t interrupt your sleeping “cues.”
Read more about Circadian Rhythm and how to get tired fast over at Rise Science.
Even better, an eye mask can feel comforting in a similar way to a weighted blanket. Some people claim that the soothing and gentle pressure of a mask can actually help them fall asleep faster.
2. Noise-canceling headphones
Noise doesn’t necessarily prevent you from falling asleep. In fact, an estimated 60% of Americans watch TV as they fall asleep. It’s understandable that TV noise can have a calming effect.
The problem is that noise always compromises sleep quality.
Your brain will unconsciously register sounds happening in the distance and divide your resources from listening and sleeping.
These noises could prevent you from reaching deeper Non-REM stages and the deepest REM sleep.
The best solution, especially if you’re on a plane, train, or with other people in a hotel, is to bring along noise-canceling headphones to eliminate all distractions.
3. Travel pillow
If you’re taking an international or long domestic flight, chances are you’re going to have to catch up on sleep while flying. Airplane seats are notoriously uncomfortable, whether you’re sitting upright, or even if you recline your seat. It’s not a natural sleeping position at all.
Wise is the traveler who thinks ahead to pack a pillow! A simple travel pillow (made for smaller spots like a plane seat, and with lightweight material) can provide support for the head and neck and help you feel more at ease.
4. Something warm
Depending on where you’re going to sleep (a friend’s house? Or a camping trip?) you may find the temperature to be fairly cool, or even freezing cold!
We all have that relative who keeps their house like an icebox even in the winter, right? And few people who have ever camped out for a few days would say the temperature is just right. It’s usually frosty cold unless you’re traveling in the summer.
Pack for a cool night, and adapt your emergency kit to the situation at hand. You may not be able to take a weighted blanket, but you could still pack warm socks, a scarf, or even a small mini-blanket to cover your arms and legs.
It’s not just the warmth that helps relax you. The gentle pressure of a weighted blanket affects the nervous system and releases serotonin and melatonin - two hormones directly related to calmness and sleepiness.
Even regular blankets can help with sleep because they provide a gentler pressure that eases you into feeling safe and secure.
Sleep longer, get more out of vacation
According to Princess Cruises’ 9th Annual Relaxation Report, 51% of adults get less sleep than they need on an average night of the week. In fact, some of them catch up on their sleep while on vacation.
So things must be getting pretty delirious if you can’t have a good sleep at home and can’t sleep while traveling!
Take along these four items to survive a plane nap, or research the best “quiet” hotels in the country if you’re going to be visiting for a while.
Your body will thank you later with more energy and productivity!