As I get older, I notice that my ability to get proper sleep while I travel is slowly diminishing. Whether it’s jet lag or simple restlessness, I always find myself unable to sleep at night, on planes, or waking up at odd hours. It’s been rough. I reached out to my instagram followers during my trip to Paris asking for help with battling jet lag, so today I’m sharing some of their thoughts about how to battle jet lag, and what worked (or didn’t work) for me, along with some of my own insight into how to get more sleep when you travel.
1. Avoid naps, drink water, and stay active.
Avoiding naps is a lot harder than it sounds, but it has always helped me to be able to sleep at night, and it should help you too. We adjusted to our time change during our trip to Iceland pretty quickly because we took a red-eye flight there, then started driving immediately once we were on the ground and didn’t sleep again until the following night. Staying hydrated is a must wherever you are, and to remind myself I usually pack my (empty) water bottle to refill everywhere I go. Staying active will help your body use up more energy so that you’re more inclined to sleep the next night, not to mention help with burning all of those extra “vacation calories“.
2. Get on the local schedule ASAP.
I think this almost goes without saying, but whenever you land set all of your devices to the local time if they don’t auto-update. Follow the schedule by the times you would normally drink, eat, or sleep at home and your body will adjust faster. There are some exceptions, like if you land later at night and haven’t eaten dinner, etc.
3. Relax at night.
Just as when you are home, the time before bed should be used to relax and prepare your body for sleep. Take a warm bath (these melting soaps are perfect for travel!), have a drink of wine or a warm cup of chamomile tea, stay away from screens and use this quiet time to reflect on your day. My favorite thing to do while traveling is to schedule a massage at the spa for just before bedtime.
4. Use help with waking up.
First thing in the morning have your shower, then dab a small amount of peppermint essential oil on the back of your neck to help you feel more alert. Then head off for your morning cup of coffee and a decent breakfast. I find that the combination of these especially helps me to stay on the go during the day so I’m able to sleep the next night. Others also suggested taking Vitamin D in the morning, but I haven’t tested it out for myself yet.
5. Take supplements at night.
Taking melatonin at night has always helped me rest easy, though I do only take half doses because I don’t take it regularly. You can also opt for foods that naturally boost melatonin like pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, sweet corn, rice, tomatoes, or barley. Another suggestion was to take magnesium supplements at night, but I haven’t tested it. Have you? I also love the smell of lavender to help calm at night and use it in my boys room before bed every night as a “nightmare repellent“, ha.
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Do you have trouble with jet lag? Can you sleep on planes? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below!