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How To Sleep Better When Traveling

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Create Positive Sleep Routines And Ditch The Screens

Many busy executives make a habit of working on the laptop right up until the lights go out. Setting the laptop aside an hour before you sleep can help cure hotel insomnia. But dont just set the computer aside and turn on the television. Blue light from TV screens has the same effect. Take a few minutes before bedtime to read a real book or magazine, write in your journal, take a relaxing bath an hour before going to sleep or just sit and look out the window at the world.  

Meditation is another amazing exercise that can calm your body and mind. The Bulletproof team has a great guided sleep program that is a perfect resource for any beginner and great to implement while traveling. There are some effective moble meditation apps that work well in calming your mind, like and . Although, as noted above, if youre using these before bed, be aware that the blue light that can keep you up and dont get caught up scrolling Instagram while loading them.

Dont Stress You Can Get Your Baby Sleeping Well Again When You Get Home

Dont let your babys sleep ruin your vacation by being stressed about it. Just do the best you can to keep your baby well rested. You can always get your baby back on her sleep schedule when you get back home.

WeeSleep gives great advice on this below.

We always found that our babys sleep routine returned after a week or two once we were back home and in our old routines.

Combating Vacation Travel Stress

  • If youre traveling with your family, it is important to keep your children on a consistent sleep schedule, despite the disrupted schedule.
  • It can be tempting to order beer or wine during your flight, but altitude can worsen the effects of alcohol, and make it harder to overcome travel fatigue or jet lag.
  • If youre traveling to a wildfire-heavy area during wildfire season, take the protective measures necessary to ensure your sleep isnt affected by toxic particles in the air. Ensure the room where youll be sleeping is also at an appropriate temperature.
  • Count on spending more time in the airport than usual. In the wake of the pandemic, summer vacation travelers are experiencing increased lines and more delays due to short-staffing and a sudden spike in demand for travel. Be sure to account for a few extra hours of lost sleep during travel, and have a plan for when you arrive in order to achieve adequate sleep.

Dress For The Occasion

We all want to look like glamorous jet-setters upon arriving at our final destination, but this is one time when you might want to put comfort over style. A comfortable travel outfit is a must, and be sure to wear layers. Planes can range from toasty to downright freezing, so wear a cardigan or sweater to stay warm and cozy during your flight.

Any Tips For Getting My Baby To Sleep On The Flight My Baby Is Accustomed To Sleeping In A Crib Not On Me

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Book airplane travel for early morning flights when babies are their freshest and the happiest. Do not expect your little one to nap on the plane, but do bring her favorite stuffy, blanket and book on the plane and let her sleep in your arms if she can.

Also, if you have a significant layover, you can try to get your toddler or baby napping in a baby carrier or in a stroller during this time in the airport between flights. 

Try to get an early check-in at your hotel so your baby can have an afternoon nap once you arrive. If this is not possible, then go for a stroller or car ride when you reach your destination and let your little one catch some Zs while you enjoy the views! Count on an early bedtime the first night. 

Most of all, do not stress if your baby does not nap at all on the day you travel to your destination it is just one day.


Dont Use Baby Travel Sleep Options For The First Time On Vacation

This goes for toddler travel sleep options too. We dont recommend using a travel crib or toddler travel bed for the first time on vacation.

Sure, sometimes its inevitable if you are using a hotel crib for your baby, but make sure you have other items to make it a familiar sleep environment for your baby or toddler.

KidCo PeaPod Plus Toddler Travel Bed

If youve purchased a baby travel crib or a toddler travel bed, try it out at home first. We always try it for a nap first. After getting a few successful naps on it, well try a nighttime sleep.

If your baby wont sleep in a travel crib or a pack n play, trying it in their room at home where its familiar will help.

If I Completely Mess With Our Baby Sleeping Schedule During Vacation Can I Still Fix It When We Get Home

Of course! If you are concerned that your vacation ruined your babys sleep, when you return home be VERY consistent about naptimes and bedtimes.

Also, be very consistent with the routines that go along with your babys nap and nighttime sleep. But, yes, vacation sleep habits can be undone!

Of course, as always, though, respecting your babys sleep as much as possible while on vacation will usually mean a more enjoyable time away for the whole family, and a smoother transition upon your return home. 

Whats Going On In My Body When I Have Jet Lag

Within each 24-hour cycle, your body temperature, blood pressure, glucose and hormone levels go up and down. Thats run by your internal clock, which is linked to the light you take in through your eyes. Your internal clock can run faster or slower depending on how long you are exposed to light and darkness, and when you are exposed to each.

Typically, the amount and timing of sunlight you take in from day to day is close to the same. Even though it varies seasonally, the change is gradual enough for your body to adjust. However, when you travel by airplane and quickly cross time zones, the change is dramatic. When you arrive in a new time zone, your body is still wired to the sun patterns from your home location. Youre getting light when your body is used to it being dark, and vice versa, and that disrupts your internal clock.

If you are traveling east: It will probably be difficult to fall asleep at night. It will also take your body a little longer to adjust when you are traveling this way. The number of days you will be jet lagged will equal the number of time zones you cross. So you will be jet lagged about three days if you change three time zones to the east.

Try To Stay Awake Until Bedtime

As soon as you leave, you will want to pretend that you are on local time in your destination. This means that your bedtime is going to be a bit later or earlier than usual. Try to go to sleep around 10 p.m. local time. A good rule of thumb is to do what those around you are doing if they are out and about, you should be too!


Yes, you might be walking around like a zombie in the market, but it will make the transition a lot faster.


If you are only staying for a couple of days, this tip will not apply to you because you should be trying to stick to your routine at home.

Plan Your Travel To Arrive At Night

Getting to your destination at night works best for most; sleeping on an airplane can be excruciating at times, so unless you are one of the lucky few that can easily catch some zzzs on your flight, you will not be getting much rest during travel.


If you have already set your watch to local time, it should not be too much longer until a bedtime of 10 p.m. This works well because you wont have to trudge through a whole day with no sleep, and you will most likely be exhausted from a full day of travel .


If a nighttime arrival is not an option, taking a short nap during the afternoon once you arrive is doable, just make sure it is not too late in the day and is shorter than a couple of hours so that it does not interfere with night sleep.

Days Before Your Trip

Among his many other nuggets of wisdom, Benjamin Franklin is credited with this timeless phrase. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. To give yourself the best chance of getting a good sleep during your upcoming trip, there are several things you can do during the days leading up to it.

Traveling for Work?If you are crossing time zones, there are several tricks that can help your body and mind adjust accordingly. First, get in the zone. Timed lighting or over-the-counter melatonin can help you get to bed early so you can advance to the new time zone.

Traveling for Fun?If you are crossing time zones but traveling for leisure, prepare as if you were traveling for work. However, there is more flexibility since your priorities will be less demanding when you arrive. This means you can choose to sleep when you feel tired rather than making your body adjust to the new time zone.

Staying Local?If you are not crossing time zones, stick to your normal schedule and sleep patterns before and during your trip. This can help you avoid sleep deprivation.

How Can I Sleep On A Bus Plane Or A Train

Sleeping while traveling may not be as easy as just closing your eyes and drifting off. It can be uncomfortable, crowded, and loud, especially if you are traveling by bus, plane, or . That said, there are a few travel hacks you can use to sleep while en route to your destination.

Avoid Alcohol

Though alcohol may sound inviting as you start your , you may want to reach your destination before indulging. While alcohol has a sedative effect initially, it can disturb your sleep a few hours in and make it hard to fall back asleep. Alcohol can also cause dehydration and headaches, which may interrupt your sleep.

Turn Off Electronics

It can be tempting to pass time on your phone or tablet, but if you’re traveling at night and plan to sleep, electronic devices should be turned off. These devices emit blue light , which is beneficial during the day because it helps boost reaction times, mood, and attention. But blue light exposure in the evening can confuse your circadian rhythm, negatively affecting your sleep quality.

Sit by the Window

Sitting by the window on a often gives you more control over lighting, as you can close the shade. You have less control over the lighting when traveling by bus, but a window seat may still be beneficial. It provides a place to rest your head, which may be helpful if you dont have a travel pillow with you.

Pack Sleep Accessories

  • Earplugs: Earplugs can help block out noise when traveling, which may make it easier to relax and fall asleep.

Power Down Your Brain

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While theres plenty to ponder anywhere in the world, sometimes there is an added level of thoughtfulness, stress, or worry that goes with being on the road:

  • Did I add shipping costs to slide #2 of tomorrows presentation?
  • What if it rains on our walking tour?
  • Or worse, what if it snows?
  • I hope doesnt forget to take her social studies assignment to school

Tell the voices in your head to take a chill pill by stretching, , or practicing deep breathing techniques to help your brain know that its time to get ready for bed.

One of my favorite brain shushing tactics is the legs-up-the-wall yoga pose. Im no yogi, but you basically lie on your back, put your legs up the wall, and breathe deeply for about ten minutes. Or you can read detailed instructions from the experts at Yoga Journal.

Be Flexible About Your Sleep Routine

For the most part, Chung sticks to her sleep schedule when traveling. But she does tweak it so that she can make the most of a destination. I would probably go to bed a little later so I can enjoy the nightlife in certain cities, but then I just shift it by a couple of hours, so I wake up a little later. I do that for the whole time. But she cautions against throwing the entire thing out the window: I try to be strict because if you dont sleep well, youre miserable the next day. You took precious time off to go to this beautiful place and you cant enjoy it.

Changes To Diet And Exercise Routines

Travel is frequently treated as a welcome break from normal routines, but changes to established habits may play a role in sleep disruptions.

Travelers may be inclined to drink more alcohol or eat heavier meals than normal, both of which can have negative effects on sleep patterns. Regular exercise, which can contribute to consistent sleep, may also be reduced or modified while traveling.

Sleep Well During The Journey

Take your own pillow

This is the best tip for anyone who doesnt sleep well for the first night in a new bed. Take your own pillow to give yourself a little more familiarity and home comfort.

And lets not forget that travelling with a pillow will ensure youre more comfortable during the journey too! Ive recently been sent the TEMPUR Comfort Travel Pillow and it is a dream! Its a mini pillow so its great for travelling and I actually find it much more comfortable than the U-shaped neck pillows that are specially designed for travel. I just cant get comfortable with those ones! The TEMPUR pillow has visco-elastic cells that actively mould and adapt to your body thats a fancy way of saying its firm but mouldable so once youve snuggled into the perfect position itll keep you there! We already have a TEMPUR at home so its nice having a little pillow that feels similar to take with me. As Im currently 8 months pregnant I actually take it everywhere at the moment and Im finding it great for long car journeys.

Plan your travel sleep and schedule strategic naps 

OK, I know its not always as simple as scheduling a nap as though you can force yourself to sleep at exactly 3pm for precisely 49 minutes, but there is a lot you can do to ensure youre tired enough to sleep at the right time or to stay awake during the day time.

^Im not going to lie, sleeping in Business Class is much easier than economy!

Put your PJs on for the flight

Create your own sleepy toiletry kit

How To Get A Quiet Hotel Room

This might be common sense, but its often something we forget when checking into a hotel. When you initially book your room, request one in a quiet spot. Ideally this should be away from the hotel pool and far from the banquet room and hotel bar. Avoid rooms near the ice and vending machines or near the elevators, since these locations draw high traffic. And of course, if you hear excess noise late at night, call the front desk to file a complaint.

Even with these adjustments, sometimes the noise cant be avoided. Whether its paper-thin hotel room walls or your partner snoring in the bed next to you, sometimes you just need something to block out the noise! Consider a small, or even a phone app. Foam ear plugs are an inexpensive option as well. One other thing to double check before you fall asleep is that the hotel alarm clock isnt still set from the former guest.

Do A Calming Activity

Getting to sleep quickly and easily requires having a relaxed mind its much more difficult if youre excited, anxious or upset.  Soothe yourself by doing a calming activity before bed.  This could include things like stretching, meditation or listening to classical music.

This can be especially useful on holidays if youre still adrenalised from your day, or if youre travelling with children.

Go With The Local Flow

After you land, try to sync up with the local schedule. If youre landing when people are awake in the middle of the day, thats what you want to do, too. Sleep as much as you can on the plane, she says. If youre going to be landing at night, do your best to stay awake on the plane and sleep at your destination.

Tips To Get Quality Sleep During Your Summer Vacation

Whether youre headed to the beach, visiting family or even taking that bucket-list vacation many of us will be hitting the road this summer. In fact, according to a survey from AAA, 35% of Americans plan to take a summer road trip. Thats a lot of people sleeping in beds other than their own.

Regardless of whether you are traveling for pleasure or business this summer, spending a night away from home can wreck a good nights sleep. Youve probably experienced it yourself: events and activities that altered your normal bedtime routine; unfamiliar places, noises or smells that left you tossing and turning, waiting to drift off; that next-day, groggy feeling you thought was just jet lag. It all adds up to make traveling feel downright tiresome.

Blame your brain.

Theres a biological reason why many of us find it difficult to get a good nights sleep while away from home, regardless of how comfortable the accommodations may be.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there is a sleep disorder called the first-night effect.

But dont let that keep you up at night! The good news is that this phenomenon seems to diminish when we spend a second night in the same space, hence the first-night effect moniker.

What can you do?

For more advice on improving your sleep while traveling, watch these tips from our resident sleep expert, Lissa Coffey.


How Can I Overcome Jet Lag

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Traveling between time zones can cause acute sleep deprivation and disrupt your circadian rhythm, often resulting in moodiness, attention problems, and an overall decline in how you function. This is referred to as jet lag.

Since disruption in your circadian rhythm can lead to jet lag, it is critical that you adjust to the new time zone as quickly as possible. Some travelers find that it is helpful to take oral melatonin.

is the hormone that helps make you feel sleepy, and it is regulated by circadian rhythms and light and darkness patterns. Research has shown a decline in jet lag symptoms in those that took melatonin close to bedtime at their destinations.

In the days leading up to your travel plans, you may want to take melatonin at your desired bedtime in the time zone you’re headed to, especially if you’ll be traveling across multiple time zones. This can help you adjust your sleep schedule before you leave. Melatonin may also be helpful if you are traveling to a higher altitude.

Dosages for melatonin vary, and you should speak with your healthcare provider before trying any new supplements, including melatonin.

Additionally, travelers may want to try the following tips for preventing jet lag:

On The First Night In A New Place Half Your Brain Stays Awake To Watch Out For Danger

We all know the feeling. Its your first night at a hotel after a long day a travel. You slide under bleach-white sheets, collapsing on a cloud of pillows. Yet, despite near exhaustion, you toss and turn, unable to nod off.

This tendency to sleep poorly on the first night in a new setting, known as the first night effect, is well documented, but the causes have remained unclear.

This phenomenon, though, might be an evolutionary advantage in disguise, a new study in Current Biology suggests. The grogginess may happen because one side of the brain forgoes sleep to act as a night watch capable of alerting us to potential dangers, a team from Brown University shows.

When a subject comes into a lab on the first night , it takes them longer to fall asleep, they wake up many times in the middle of the sleep session, and the duration of deep sleep is shorter than usual, says the studys lead author, Masako Tamaki. Usually researchers just throw away the data because the quality is so low, but we were curious what is going on in the sleeping brain on that first night.

During the first night of sleep disturbance, the left hemisphere showed greater activity in response to the sounds than the right. These differences occurred only in response to the irregular sounds, which were designed to simulate something unusual and possibly dangerous. Once again, this hemispheric imbalance disappeared on the second night.

Consider Taking Melatonin Supplements If Youre Traveling East

Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in your brain. It is only released in darkness and signals typical nighttime behaviors. For humans, that includes sleep. Melatonin works better in low doses, so less is more when youre taking supplements to help with jet lag. It also needs be taken at the proper time to be effective. Take 0.5 mg of melatonin 13 hours before the time you want to wake up. Higher doses will not help you fall asleep any faster or easier and may cause other problems. Melatonin supplements should be taken before your trip during the same time period that youre adjusting your exposure to light and darkness. Then, stop using melatonin the day your flight leaves.

Should You Take Naps When Traveling

can be refreshing if youre short on sleep while traveling, but its important not to go overboard with naps. If you nap for too long, you may wake up even groggier. Long naps or naps in the late afternoon or evening can also throw off your sleep schedule.

In order to get the benefits of naps without many downsides, try to nap for less than 30 minutes and a maximum of 60 minutes. The best time to nap is usually shortly after lunch, and naps later in the day should be avoided.

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How To Fight Jet Lag

Your best bet is to adapt yourself to the routine of your destination’s time zone as soon as possible. Try these tips to avoid problems when you travel:

  • Several days before your trip, gradually adjust your sleeping habits to the time zone of your destination.
  • As soon as you board your flight, reset your watch for the new time zone.
  • While on board, try not to sleep too much.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. makes it harder for your body to adjust to the new rhythm.
  • If you feel the need to nap right after you arrive, limit it to 2 hours.
  • Try taking . This can help you reset your bodyâs internal clock so you can fall asleep at the right time. Take a dose before bedtime at your destination every night until you adjust.
  • Daylight can help reset your internal clock. Try getting some outdoors, like a brisk walk, as soon as you get up in the morning.
  • Donât drink too much or , and avoid .
  • Try to keep yourself busy and engaged with other people.
  • Practice good sleep habits while youâre away.

Use A Sound Machine App Or Spotify

Thanks to my travels, my Spotify will never be the same, since my top song of the year is Box Fan Medium Speed. When I lived in Manhattan prior to becoming a location-independent journalist, I had a large, loud air conditioner that took out any noise from the chaos below me. But in the 12 apartments of my past year, very few had a fan of any sort. This made the silence deafening, so I came up with a solution: a downloaded hour-long loop of white noise that I could play as I got used to a new place. Over time, I discovered the , which I found helpful, too. I also considered packing a travel-size sound machine , but ultimately decided against it for space.

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