Falling Asleep When Away From Home—
5 Sleep Solutions
When traveling, you might find that it’s more difficult to fall asleep. As a flight attendant I’m often staying overnight in new places and have found these sleep solutions that often help me. Hotels can be relaxing, but there can also be a lot of things that interrupt quality sleep: bright lights, noisy neighbors, uncomfortable beds, aching muscles, and jet lag can all contribute to difficulty sleeping. Here are 5 common problems and some sleep solutions that I’ve found can help.
1) The Problem: Too Bright
When sunlight is shining through the curtains, it can be tough to sleep.
Two things I use: First I wear a Tempur-Pedic Eye Mask, which completely blocks out the light but doesn’t press against your eyes. Second, I close the gap in the curtains by using either wooden clothespins that I bring or the clips from a pants hanger from the closet.
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2) The Problem: Too Noisy
There is so much potential for disturbing noises in a hotel. Airplanes taking off (if at an airport hotel), nearby traffic, loud people in hallways, doors slamming, family members snoring, the air conditioner turning off and on…
I use a travel sound machine for white noise. Sometimes I forget to pack the sound machine, so I use the app “White Noise” (free download) and play that (be sure your phone is plugged in so you don’t run down the battery!). I found that the sound “Brown Noise” works better for met than “White Noise”. There are lots of sounds to choose from, so you can choose what works best for you.
If the sound machine isn’t for you, or if it’s still not enough, I recommend ear plugs. The one thing I advise is to set a wake up call in addition to your own alarm if you need to wake up by a certain time. While wearing earplugs I have slept through my alarm before.
3) The Problem: Uncomfortable Bed
Sometimes you get a bed that is just too uncomfortable to sleep. Sometimes I can feel every spring coil!
When the mattress is that uncomfortable I lay out pillows beneath me so that I can sleep. DIY pillow top!
To bring consistency to my sleeping environment I travel with my own pillow. I use the Tempur-Pedic Travel Pillow. It is the size of a regular pillow cut in half and rolls into it’s case or smashes flat in your suitcase. For the kids I bring toddler pillows which don’t take up much space in the suitcase. I also bring a plush blanket for both of my kids so that they are comfortable even if the sheets and blankets are not a great texture. If you’re particularly sensitive to the feeling of sheets and blankets, this ultra-soft sleep sack is a great thing to pack.
4) The Problem: Aching Muscles
After a long travel day, you may just be achy all over. I’m not sure about you, but when my muscles ache I cannot sleep. I doze off and find myself waking up a few minutes later because I’m so uncomfortable.
Three things that help me:
- Stretch before bed. Walking On Travels shares these great yoga stretches for a good place to start.
- Take Hyland’s Homeopathic Arnica Montana. You should always consult your physician before taking any medications or treatments, but I have found this formula is very effective for helping to relax my muscles. Since it doesn’t have many side effects, I prefer taking this to other medications.
- Take ibuprofen. Again, consult your physician and don’t overuse anti-inflammatory medicines. But ibuprofen can be effective as a last resort if your body just cannot relax.
Another thing you can try is a warm bath or shower. You can add Mineral Bath Salts like these to your bath for further relaxation. Magnesium oil can also help.
5) The Problem: Restlessness/Jet Lag
Sometimes you just can’t sleep and the harder you try, the less likely it is for sleep to come. If this seems to be happening to you or you kids, it might be worth it to give up on sleep for a bit and try this:
My eight year old, Ella, often has a rough time settling down for sleep. Sometimes we just have to throw that bedtime out the window, so to speak, and go out for a nighttime walk. If you’re in a place that’s safe for walking at night, give this a try. Or go walk on the treadmill for a little bit. Giving your brain a break from the pressure to fall asleep just works. A little bit of activity and maybe a light snack can help your body relax and prepare for sleeping. Also for kids, having a pillow or tickle fight can, surprisingly, help to calm them. The reason is that it gives deep pressure sensation, which, like a massage, can be relaxing. Just give up the idea of “I must sleep NOW” and take a little break before trying to sleep again.
Another thing that is natural and effective for restlessness is Hyland’s Homeopathic Calms Forte. They make both an adult and a children’s formula. Since there are no side effects, I prefer using this to using medicated sleep aids. When I’m part of the flight crew I can’t afford to be groggy from sleep aids!
Share Your Tips:
Do you have sleep solutions for when you’re away from home? Do you struggle with any of these problems I mentioned? Comment below. Your tips might be helpful to other readers!
Be sure to check back here every Tuesday for a new post with travel tips. Do you have any travel questions? Comment below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and I’ll do my best to help answer your questions! If I don’t have an answer I’ll find someone who does.