There can be numerous reasons behind you failing to achieve the right quality and quantity of night sleep while travelling, such as a poor diet, too much stress, insufficient exposure to daylight, and most importantly- a broken sleep schedule. It is common for people travelling in long distance flights to experience what you call jet lag. Travelling across longer routes can severely disrupt your circadian rhythm which controls the natural sleep-wake cycle of the body.
This rapid shift in time zones can make it harder for travellers to fall asleep easily throughout the trip, especially when travelling west to east as the bedtime is supposed to be advanced. Be it a business trip or one meant for leisure, a poor sleep health can ruin the whole stay by leading to problems like grogginess, excessive daytime sleepiness, body aches, inability to remain focussed, etc. We have therefore compiled an extensive list of 8 natural sleep remedies that shall help you beat the time change and ensure a good night’s sleep throughout your trip.
#01 Plan Ahead
Start adjusting your regular sleep-routine in a way that it aligns with the time zone of your destination. Make sure that you adjust your bedtime gradually and not all of a sudden so that the transition into the new sleep schedule can be smooth. It is absolutely essential to book your seats and accommodation in a way that they do not interrupt your night sleep. Do not forget to pack essential things to help you sleep such as comfortable night clothes, an eye mask (preferably one made of silk or satin), a travelling pillow, and a pair of noise cancelling earplugs.
#02 Light Exposure is Important
While travelling across several time zones, it is recommended that you book your flight in a way that the landing time coincides with the time that you naturally wake up. Once you reach your destination, it is crucial that you do not hit the bed even if you experience tiredness from the flight. This way you can give yourself ample time to stay outdoors and expose yourself to the natural sunlight so that the sleep-wake cycle of the body adjusts with your new destination. Remember to dim the lights after sundown and get rid of blue-light emitting devices such as phones and laptops as they can inhibit the production of the natural sleep hormone of the body called melatonin.
#03 Exercise Regularly
A lot of people around the globe tend to skip their workout schedule while travelling. However, most researchers studying the effect of exercising while travelling found out that travellers who engaged in regular workout, slept better than those who didn’t. According to this recent study, depending on the time of the day that you work out, your circadian rhythm can be shifted earlier or to a later period. This reinstates the fact that exercising is one of the best home remedies for sleep health and an effective way to combat jet lag. The study also showed how even a moderate amount of exercise in the day can have a great impact on the quality of your sleep.
#04 Take in Sleep-Inducing Food and Drinks
Include a lot of foods in your diet that are rich in nutrients that help you sleep. For example, consider carrying foods with you like tart cherries, bananas, almonds, eggs, etc., as they are rich sources of melatonin. You may also opt for other food items and drinks such as milk, kiwis, fatty fish, whole grains, etc., as they have a rich content of components that help you sleep better such as tryptophan amino acid, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. Such sleep-inducing foods in your diet are considered excellent forms of natural sleep aid and are much safer than synthetic supplements.
#05 Mind the Water Intake
Your everyday water intake can have a very big impact on the quality of your sleep, especially when you are planning to sleep while travelling. High altitudes on a flight are notorious for causing dehydration. You should therefore carry ample amount of water with you and never hesitate to ask for more from the flight attendants. Apart from the threat of dehydration, there is also the risk of drinking too much water which can increase your night-time toilet trips. You should therefore drink water in moderation in the later part of the day to minimize sleep interruptions for you and your co-passengers.
#06 A bedtime Ritual is Important
Things like travelling across multiple time zones, attending meetings, visiting new places, and staying in a foreign environment, can sometimes lead to stress accumulation. Practicing a bedtime ritual before retiring to bed is therefore a great way to unwind your mind and body and let go of any stress. Activities like reading a book, performing bedtime yoga, taking a warm shower, etc., can be considered as soothing bedtime rituals that ensure that you sleep like a baby even in foreign conditions.
#07 Things to Avoid
There are a number of activities that people like to engage in while travelling that can hamper your night sleep. Staying up too late in the night should be avoided as this can disrupt your sleep schedule that you have worked so hard to establish. While you should try out most local cuisines on your stay, try avoiding foods that are rich in oils and fats too close to bedtime as this can lead to indigestion and acid reflux, both of which are common reasons for sleep deprivation. You should also lower your alcohol intake and remember not to drink at least 6 hours before bedtime as alcohol can disrupt the later part of your sleep and may even increase your toilet trips by forcing liquids out of your system.
#08 Make yourself Comfortable
We have reserved the most important sleep tip for the end and it concerns with familiarizing yourself with the new environment. Get into the flow of your new destination as soon as possible so that your circadian rhythm can sync with the new place. Bring along certain objects such as a photo frame, the pillow you sleep on, a comfy blanket, your favourite mug, etc. Such things can help your bedroom environment appear more comely and make it easier for you to fall asleep. To find more such healthy sleep tips, go through this sleep tips blog that has been carefully crafted to improve your night sleep experience.
With all the excitement and stress of visiting a new place, it is understandable that you want to make the most of the trip, even if it costs a few hours of your bedtime. However, most seasoned travellers would tell you that completing the 7 to 9 hours of sleep on a constant basis is key to being at your best while travelling. We hope that the points mentioned above help you beat jet lag and ensure a sound sleep health throughout your journey.