Even if you are one of those rare souls who can fall asleep anywhere, getting sound and restful sleep is difficult while traveling. While falling asleep itself may not present a challenge, waking up may come with myriad complications: stiff neck, sore back and maybe even a headache.
These symptoms sometimes worsen as you step off the plane or get out of the car after a long drive. Taking in the views and even engaging with people may prove difficult.
While traveling will always come with some challenges, getting a decent amount of sleep can help you tackle them better.
Use these proven techniques by seasoned travelers to sleep soundly while you travel and feel better when you arrive.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Choose a comfortable outfit
The athleisure movement has exploded in the apparel industry thereby making it easier than ever to find comfortable, stylish clothes that don’t scream “I’ve ironed my gym clothes for the plane.” Opt for loose-fitting items like these lounge-worthy jumpsuits by Ripple Yogawear.
And yes, pajama dressing is now a thing. So ladies, find yourself a cute set like this cozy alpaca pullover and loose pants by Lunya. As Vogue writer Sara Parker Bowles says, “A sense of humour is the ultimate way to accessorise your sleepwear style. A nudge, a smile and a knowing wink are all you need to pull it off with aplomb.”
Bring a light-weight blanket
Whether you are sleeping overnight on the plane, train, or in the passenger seat, bring your own blanket.
Airplanes are notoriously chilly at night and nothing beats the comfort of your own freshly-washed fleece blanket to keep you from catching that cold that’s been going around.
Choose a comfortable, discreet pillow
While some travel pillows are basically a carry-on in their own right, you can also find discreet options like the Dream Sling, a wonderfully versatile choice that serves as a neck pillow and armrest.
This microbead pillow cushions your head as it tilts and droops after you fall asleep. The detachable padded sling provides support for the forearms and keeps you from settling your arms and elbows in awkward positions that may cause soreness and pain. These two parts pair well together because the weight of the arms actually helps keep the neck pillow in place.
Dream Sling is ideal for long flights since most users of the product travel between Hawaii and the mainland on six-hour flights.
If you’re one of those people who enjoy a good snooze on a lazy Sunday afternoon in your favorite chair but always end up with a crick in your neck, this one’s for you!
Invest in a black satin eye mask
There is always that one passenger near you who has decided catch up on work on his brightly lit laptop. You can both get what you want if you invest in an eye mask. According to sleep expert, Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, we are wired to sleep in the dark. Our internal clock or circadian rhythm keeps pace with the movement of the sun to make sure we fall asleep when night falls.
With your trusty black satin eye mask you’ll get the best sleep of your life. OK, let’s not get carried away. You’ll get some sleep and wake up better for it.
You may even find that you want to keep using your eye mask at home to cut out that street light glare.
Bring an extra pair of socks
Your back is not the only part of your body that can end up sore. As you sit on the train, plane or even in the car for a few hours, your feet may start to cramp up due to lack of mobility.
Consider bringing an extra pair of thick, breathable socks that you can use as snug slippers. Wiggle your toes and flex the arch of your foot from time to time.
Slip the socks on when you start the trip and then throw them in the wash when you get home!
Stretch it Out
Long trips often lead to lack of mobility which can cause poor circulation and stiff joints.
Though it may feel awkward to keep asking your seatmate to let you get out into the aisle, do it.
Move your body as often as you can to prevent cringing in pain when you finally get off that 6-hour flight. Even waiting in line for the bathroom can be an opportunity to stretch your legs.
Drink more water
Although air flight attendants will come around with the cart to offer beverages every now and then, don’t wait for it. Instead, take the opportunity to walk to the kitchen area.
Staying hydrated on flights will help alleviate dry sinuses from overly air-conditioned spaces and cramped muscles from sitting in those tight seats for too long.
Substitute alcohol for tea
Fancy a cuppa before dozing off to sleep while on the plane? Though many travelers rely on a nightcap to help them fall asleep, experts say in the long run, it will ruin your sleep cycle. Instead, opt for a cup of bedtime tea with soothing herbs like chamomile and valerian.
Splurge on a sleeping cream mask
As you travel, you are bound to face some changes to your regular routine from eating at strange hours to passing through an endless number of air-conditioned terminals to sleeping overnight in the dry cabin air. Perk up parched skin with a rich creamy sleep mask like the Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleep Mask.
Slather it on before you fall asleep and wash it off in the morning for a more vibrant glow.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Use your favorite PJs
It sounds trivial but traveling can be brutal on our nerves: changes in temperature, environment, language, delays, delays, and sometimes more delays. Make sure to plan ahead for the little pleasures that can be counted upon.
Consider the bath salts
Taking a hot relaxing bath may just be the ticket when you arrive at your destination. Invest in bath bombs and soaps with soothing scents like lavender and lemon myrtle.
Whether you’re traveling overseas for work, taking a road trip with family or escaping the bitter cold for an island getaway in the Caribbean, use these tips to plan for comfort, adjust to current circumstances and reset when you arrive at your destination.