July 25, 2016
GOING ON A VACATION should be packed full of fun adventures, wonderful food and quality time with friends or family. Your daily cares should slip away, and after a day spent doing only the things you want to do — with no input from your boss, thank you very much – you should be able to climb into a comfy bed and enjoy the best sleep of your life.
Too bad it doesn’t always work out that way.
Traveling can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns, and you may find that your plans are derailed by some vacation insomnia. Jet lag, a change in diet, over stimulation – even a strange bed – can all lead to some tossing and turning, but you can try these tips to get a good night’s rest.
The biggest hurdle to overcome for travelers trying to rest on vacation is jet lag, and the farther away you are from home, the worse it is. Jet lag disrupts your sleep by messing with your circadian rhythms: Your body just can’t catch up to the new sunrise and sunset times, and you may find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night because of it. Stay ahead of the curve by adjusting your watch and/or smartphone as soon as you get on the plane, and try to eat and sleep at the appropriate times for your destination to get a head start on your new schedule. When you land, force yourself to skip a nap and stay awake until the local bedtime — you’ll be exhausted, yes, but that just boosts the odds that you’ll fall asleep and wake up at the right time to enjoy the rest of your trip.
Some travelers also find it helpful to take melatonin about a half hour before your desired bedtime to help your body feel sleepy when you want it to. Likewise, you may find that changing your caffeine schedule helps you to adjust your sleep patterns as well. Make sure to have your coffee in the morning according to the local time at your destination, and skip the stimulants after dinner so you’ll be able to sleep.
Sleeping in a new place can sometimes be difficult: Perhaps the mattress is more or less firm than you’d like, or you may find that your hotel room is louder than you expected. Sometimes, simple excitement can keep you abuzz far into the evening and prevent you from falling asleep. Try these additional tips to power down for a relaxing night of sleep on your vacation:
Whichever jet lag remedy you try, there’s one thing you shouldn’t do: stress out. Getting anxious about not sleeping can be counterproductive. Keep in mind that you probably won’t have to concentrate or perform as well as if you were at work so the consequences aren’t as great. Relax. Trust that your body will adjust eventually – and enjoy yourself!