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The Effects of Travel on Sleep and How to Avoid Them

August 18, 2022 by The Sleep Company

Effects of Travel

Traveling is an excellent and inevitable experience of life. People travel across the world, in different time zones frequently for fun or work purposes. Contrary to any purpose, traveling can be exhausting when you don’t get enough sleep, which often happens during traveling. 

Factors affecting sleep during travel

When you travel, it leads to gaining new experiences, meeting new people, and having fun. However, certain factors can reduce your enthusiasm by affecting your sleep during the journey. 

Pre-travel struggle

Even before you begin the journey, pre-travel preparations from arranging leaves, packing, bookings, and itinerary planning takes your extra time. Also, on the day of your journey, last-minute preparations and the fear of forgetting something make you restless. All these issues wear you out, further hampering the sleep routine. 

Travel stress

During the journey, many face fatigue for various reasons and become exhausted, get headaches, and ultimately lose sleep. 

Things that can lead to travel stress

Jet lag

Jet lag is a problem generally faced by you if you are traveling in more than two different time zones. When you travel in two or more time zones, your body still follows the circadian rhythm of the time zone you left. It makes you feel non-synchronized with the current time zone. 

Jet lag usually lasts for a couple of days, but if you are constantly traveling in different time zones back to back, it may remain with you for long. Jet lag can make you tired and confused and cause digestive problems and discomfort.

Schedule change

Traveling by default causes routine change, which can result in sleep issues. Changed eating, exercising, and sleeping hours can create problems like ruined digestion, fatigue, discomfort, and other health issues. 

It becomes tricky when you travel for business meetings or seminars where you need to look presentable after long hours of journey. 

New environment

People feel comfortable and secure while sleeping in their familiar environment or on a mattress. However, when you travel, everything changes, and you have to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings and sleep on a new mattress. Many people find it difficult to sleep on a new mattress where someone else might have slept already. 

Unfamiliar settings bring discomfort and negatively impact your mind despite being comfortable and luxurious. Usually, you may start feeling better after the first few nights in a new place

Diet change

When you travel to a new place, your surroundings change, and your diet also gets impacted. Every place has its own cuisine, and sometimes people find it difficult to adjust to it. 

Also, sometimes people tend to eat heavy meals or at irregular times. All these cases hamper their digestion and lead to sleep problems.  

Tips to get better sleep during travel

To make the most of your travel experience without sacrificing much on sleep, follow the below-mentioned tips:

Reduce pre-travel stress

To reduce pre-travel stress, try to take as much help from others as possible. Prepare a to-do list and make preparations in an organized manner to avoid stress related to missing essential things. Also, plan promptly to avoid last minute rush. 

Sleep around traveling hours

If you find sleeping on a bus, train, or flight difficult, try to sleep around the time you spend on the vehicles. If you are traveling continuously for more than 24 hours, try to take a halt in-between and rest at a hotel. 

Dress appropriately

Wear comfortable attire, which can help you move freely while traveling. Wearing loose-fitting clothes and less jewelry help you remain tension free and have easy movements. Also, carry extra layers of clothing in case of cold. 

Settle down in a good position

Find a comfortable sitting position while traveling. Since, during the journey, you have to adjust to congested space. And when the journey is for long hours, it becomes more uncomfortable as your body stiffens and starts hurting at odd places. Make sure that you recline as much as possible to keep your body tension free. 

Carry stuff to help you sleep and relax

While traveling, sleeping becomes impossible due to noises, movements, lights, and fellow travelers, which you don’t have much control over. Carry things that can help you relax and sleep as much as possible such as a sleeping mask, ear plugs, scarves, or shawls to block out lights and keep you warm. 

Carry pillow or back cushion

Long sitting hours can strain your neck, lower back, and spine. Carry a pillow to help you rest your head and reduce neck pain. Carry a back cushion to get relief from back pain. Also, you can carry a seat cushion to make your hips comfortable on a hard surface. 

You can buy the Sleep Company’s Smart Adjustable Plush Pillow, Smart Seat Cushion, and SmartGRID Back Cushions, which provide ultimate comfort and support and make your journey pain and stress-free. 

Healthy habits

It’s a natural mentality to let loose while traveling or on vacation and drifting away from a routine. However, following certain healthy habits as much as possible can be beneficial.

Though traveling can mean plunging into a food spree and cheating on a regular diet, it can be harmful. Try to stick with a routine as much as possible. Even trying new cuisine, make sure not to overeat. 

Traveling can be exhausting, and you get dehydrated quickly. Drink as much water as you can. Also, many people find it challenging to digest water in new places. Find a solution like bottled water or filtered water in a new place rather than drinking regular water. 

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine even on ordinary days is a good habit. And when you are traveling, avoiding these toxic drinks as much as possible is mandatory to prevent health and sleep issues. 

Bottom Line:

Remember traveling means getting new experiences and having fun. But it comes at the price of your health and sleep. However, if you take precautions and follow specific tips, you don’t sacrifice your sleep, and you can enjoy yourself more. 

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