How to Sleep Better when You Travel

If it’s been a while since you’ve traveled, a refresher on better sleep and staying healthy will make your vacation a whole lot more fun

For most of us, travel has been put on hold for far too long. But there’s a whole lot of fun days ahead – and we want those days to be as healthy as possible for you and your family. When it comes to travel, sleep is often the first sacrifice, which can negatively impact your immune system. Not something we want to mess with after living with COVID for a year, right?

With a few adjustments, to your daily (and nightly) habits, travel can be safe and fun again.

How to relax (and possibly sleep) better at the airport

When it comes to sleep and travel, space is a luxury – and a necessity. While the price of first-class may be out of reach, there’s a lot to be said for finding a place to stretch out.

  • Secure your stuff. Feeling safe is priority number one for sleep. If there’s a place to lock your belongings, use it. If not, make sure your money, credit cards, and passport are tucked inside your shirt where it would be hard for someone to remove without waking you.

How to relax while you’re in the air

If you’re planning to travel across time zones, consider how you’ll handle jet leg before you leave home. If you’re going west to east, expect jet lag to be worse. But there are non-medicinal ways to reduce sleep disruption. Start by pushing back your bedtime about 6 days before you leave – just 15 minutes will do it. Then 3 days out, push it back ½ hour.

When you board the plane, adjust your watch, laptop, and cellphone and start living the new time zone right away.

While in the air:

  • Stretch it out. If you’re flight’s delayed, chances are you aren’t relaxed. Try some yoga or simple stretches to elongate your spine and release the tension. If it helps, put on your headphones and let your favorite tunes relax you while you stretch.
  • Change your clothes. Slip into loose clothing that will allow you to move freely (and make it easier to nap). You might sleep hot at home, but long pants, a sweater, and socks will keep you warm in a cool airport.
  • Make a pillow. Your head needs a soft place to rest so roll up a jacket or scarf. Of course, you’ll want to wipe down the chair before laying down on it. And remember to keep your mask in place, even when you’re sleeping.
    • Try not to nap. A nap can thwart your body’s need for a longer sleep that night. If you must sleep, limit yourself to 25 minutes.

    Travel accessories that double as sleep aides

    For most of us, there’s no place like home when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep and there’s no denying airplane seats are the polar opposite of comfortable. Add in the noise from other passengers or announcements and getting sleep on a plane feels like a herculean task. Talk about a recipe for grumpy!

    Packing a few sleep accessories can relieve some of the nightmares of airplane travel and ensure you arrive well-rested and ready for your vacation.

    Reserve rest & relaxation at your hotel

    If a quiet night is a priority for you when you travel, speak up when booking your room. You’re the expert on what helps you relax and get the sleep you need. If you’re going to Vegas, skip to the next section – you won’t be sleeping anyway…

    Rest well & wake up ready to go!

    Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:

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    This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes
    only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional
    medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your
    health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you
    have read on If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your
    doctor or dial 911.

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