It can be challenging to make time for sleep in the face of the many competing priorities in our lives when we are at home—from work to the gym to spending time with loved ones. However, sleep also is challenging when we are on the road, both for business and pleasure. Research shows that we are in fight or flight mode when we travel, simply due to being in a new environment. Unfortunately, this can reduce the quality of our sleep.
Most healthy adults struggle to get restful, restorative sleep while traveling. This can be disappointing and can limit your ability to enjoy a winter holiday in another time zone or a business trip for an important meeting. Here are a few tips for getting rest on the road for travel, no matter the purpose.
1. FIND THE QUIETEST ROOM
If you are staying in a hotel, request a room away from the street and as far from the elevator bank as possible. Noise can disrupt your sleep, particularly if the noises are unknown in a hotel setting.
2. BRING A SLEEP MASK AND EAR PLUGS
If you are unable to secure a room in a quieter space in a hotel, make sure you are traveling with the right equipment. Travel with earplugs as further protection from sound and an eye mask to block unwanted light.
3. KEEP A BEDTIME ROUTINE
When we are in a new environment, it can take longer to fall asleep as our brain is on higher alert in new surroundings. Make sure you leave time to relax and unwind before bed. Take a warm shower and pack a paper book so you can read and not disrupt your sleep further by having additional screen time.
4. PACK YOUR PILLOW
While in an ideal world it would be great to bring our own mattresses on the road with us to ensure we are comfortable, overhead bins are not quite large enough yet! The next best way to ensure you have a comfort from your own bed is to bring another luxury sleep accessory, a pillow.
5. MAKE EXERCISE A PRIORITY
Another great option to stay balanced while on the road is to make exercise a priority. Exercise can keep your circadian rhythm in-check, and it’s particularly useful when we travel across time zones. Try exercising in the morning and if possible, outdoors, to help you adjust to the new time zone. This can help our bodies adjust, and improve sleep at night.
Dr. Rebecca Robbins is a sleep researcher whose work examines the link between sleep and performance, as well as strategies for optimal rest and recovery. This year, she is partnering with Beautyrest to put a renewed focus on sleep performance—noting the importance of how high-quality sleep can give everyone an edge to perform more effectively throughout their day and in their waking life.