Sleep well on the road? Not so easy! Especially on vacation or business trips, a good night's sleep is important to stay fit and make the most of your travel time. Here you can find out what you can do to sleep better while travelling and how you can start the day full of energy despite time differences on the road and at your destination.
Table of contents
- Sleep while travelling
- How does lack of sleep affect you?
- Sleep tips: Sleep better while traveling
- Creating the ideal sleeping environment
- Maintain sleep habits
- Pay attention to nutrition and hydration
- Get plenty of daylight and keep moving
- Natural support: Melatonin supplements
Sleep while travelling
Slowly but surely, travel is once again part of many people's everyday lives. On the road in the car, train or plane and also at the destination itself, sleep is often neglected, although it is not only important for our performance, but also for our health. Especially in unfamiliar situations like travelling, maybe even across different time zones, our sleep, the sensitive sleep-wake rhythm and our body sensation are strongly influenced. Especially when travelling with a time difference, the body's own circadian rhythm, the famous "inner clock", gets out of sync and our sleep-wake rhythm no longer corresponds to the natural course of the day in our new environment. Our body then needs some time to adjust to the new circumstances. But also the deviation from fixed sleep routines, an unfamiliar sleeping environment or a change in eating habits can disturb sleep while travelling and lead to the fact that we have difficulty falling asleep, are repeatedly jolted out of sleep and generally do not feel well.
How does lack of sleep affect you?
In order to make the most of limited vacation days or short business trips, travelers often forgo valuable hours of sleep. Overtiredness & lack of sleep not only have a negative impact on physical well-being and memory, but also impair the ability to process information, among other things, and also promote mood swings, emotional instability and attention deficits. All things that, whether it's a business trip or a holiday getaway, you don't want.
But don't worry! We'll show you four quick tips on how to support restful sleep, even when you're on the road and in foreign places! By the way, you can read about how to specifically combat jet lag and the effects of a time zone change here.
Sleep tips: Sleep better when travelling
#1 Create the ideal sleeping environment
Rest, relaxation and a comfortable sleeping environment are important prerequisites for a restful sleep. However, especially when travelling and sleeping in "strange beds", our sleeping environment and its smells, noises or room climate can quickly seem unfamiliar and unfamiliar.
On the road
Depending on the length of your trip and travel time, it is sometimes unavoidable to sleep on the road in a car, train or plane. Loud noises, such as from machinery noise or fellow passengers, can disrupt sleep on the road. It's best to use earplugs or fixed headphones to block out noise and get more rest. A cramped airplane or car seat can also get in the way of a restful night's sleep because you simply can't find a comfortable sleeping position. With a travel pillow, you can create some comfort even in unfamiliar lying or sitting positions and especially prevent headaches and neck pain. A sleep mask can also be a good idea if too much light or too much brightness prevents you from sleeping. An ideal sleeping environment cannot always be found when travelling, but with some planning in advance, it is possible to support good quality sleep and get a restful night's sleep according to the circumstances, even when travelling.
At the destination
Numerous factors can also affect our sleep at our destination. The choice of your accommodation is therefore important, as you should also be able to set up a comfort zone here in order to make your sleeping environment as pleasant as possible. Taking your own pillow with you when you travel can help you maintain familiar sleeping habits and increase your comfort in the hotel bed. It is also a good idea to choose a hotel that is located in a quiet area. This will ensure that the hustle and bustle of the night no longer haunts you and you can fall asleep without distracting noises, such as street noise. Also, avoid particularly bright light (including screen light) before going to bed and try to keep the bedroom as dark and cool as possible (16°C - 18°C). This way, a pleasant sleeping environment promotes a peaceful sleep and nothing stands in the way of a refreshed start to the holiday day!
#2 Maintain sleep habits
A sensible sleep routine supports your sleep! In order to sleep well even in a foreign place, you should try to deviate as little as possible from your habits. Stick to your usual sleeping and waking times, sleep for about the same amount of time as usual and have your first and last meal of the day at the usual time. Especially when traveling through time zones, too many sleep breaks and naps on the road can also be rather counterproductive. They may reduce the need for sleep and decrease the natural tiredness that would help the body adjust to an earlier or even later sleep time at the destination.
#3 Consider nutrition and hydration
When we travel, our eating patterns change. We tend to eat more than usual and deviate from our usual diet. But again, try to change as little as possible and stay true to your routines. Also, make sure to eat easily digestible foods that are as high in protein and carbohydrates as possible, so as not to put extra strain on your body while still providing it with enough energy.
Especially when travelling, it is difficult for many people to drink enough, but especially in strong draughts or the dry air in the plane, it is essential to supply the body with enough fluid and to counteract dehydration. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day to keep fit and your metabolism active. Due to their stimulating effect, you should also avoid caffeinated and alcoholic foods, as these can disturb your sleep and prevent you from falling asleep easily. This way, you'll help your body prepare for the night as usual and get to sleep quickly.
You can learn more about the connection between diet and sleep in this article.
#4 Get daylight and keep moving
Sunlight controls our internal clock and regulates our daily sleep-wake rhythm. Therefore, it is especially important to consume plenty of daylight when traveling. This helps the body adjust to unfamiliar circumstances at the destination and can counteract jet lag when traveling through different time zones. Physical activity also has a positive effect on the inner rhythm, gets the circulation going and not only helps against acute tiredness, but also has a positive effect on falling asleep in the evening. Exercise in daylight and in the fresh air is therefore always a good idea, whether before, during or after your trip!
Natural support: Melatonin
The sleep hormone melatonin is an important regulator of our sleep-wake rhythm and is already known as an effective means of supporting the process of falling asleep. Taking melatonin while traveling can help you get a restful sleep faster and be ready for the day in the morning. A supplement with melatonin can also reduce the effects of jet lag when traveling through different time zones and help the body quickly adjust to the unfamiliar daily rhythm at the destination. If you want to know more about the effects and use of melatonin as a dietary supplement, you can find more information about it here.
When travelling, challenging sleeping conditions can get in the way of a good night's sleep.
Adapt your sleeping environment to your needs and habits as much as possible, even when traveling.
Maintain your sleeping habits and routines.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, drink plenty of fluids, and choose light meals high in protein and carbohydrates.
Before departure, on the road, and at your destination: stay active, keep moving, and consume plenty of daylight.
Supplements with melatonin naturally support sleep and can reduce feelings of jet lag.
Best wishes and see you soon!