Spring break has come and gone, which means it’s almost time for summer vacation! Bring on hours in a car, jet lag from a plane ride, and the constant “are we there yet?” questions coming from the adorable kiddos going with you. Vacation is meant to be relaxing and a way to reset from the everyday stresses of life. But why does it always seem like we need a vacation after our vacation? It’s because we don’t sleep like we would if we were home. We’re not in our bed, with our pillow. It doesn’t sound the same, smell the same, and vacations come with a different level of stress. So how can you still get a good night’s sleep while you’re on vacation?
If you are going somewhere that changes time zones, you can start adjusting your sleep. Moving your bedtime an hour earlier or later (depending on where you’re going) can help your body adjust to the new time zone. It’s also good to go with the local schedule. If you are going to land late at night then try to stay awake on the plane so you can sleep when you get to your destination. On the other side, if you are going to land during the day make sure when you get to your hotel that you do not sleep. Be active and see some sights until it’s time to go to bed so your sleep schedule matches where you are.
Reduce the stress beforehand by planning and preparing for your trip. If you are hoping to do things that involve tickets, see if you can purchase them beforehand. Ensure you have clothing that is suitable for the weather. You also want to bring things that will help you sleep. If you use a mask, bring it. If you’ll be somewhere that has a lot of noise you’ll want headphones or earplugs. If you are able to pack your own pillow, go for it! It will be comfortable for you and even help you feel like you’re at home.
Stay hydrated. While you travel it’s easy to drink a lot of coffee, soda, energy drinks, and other sugary drinks that make it more difficult for you to sleep at night. You also won’t always have the best food to eat. You’re almost guaranteed to eat at a restaurant every day you’re traveling. So keep the water handy, and even bring light snacks to keep in your hotel room so you have a healthier option if possible.
You can also bring melatonin. Melatonin is natural and will help your body get back on a somewhat normal sleep schedule. It’s not a cure-all for jet lag, but it can help you. Taking over-the-counter sleeping pills can linger in your body and leave you feeling groggy the next day.
Of course when you finally get home make sure your mattress doesn’t keep you from sleeping in your own home. Make sure your home is inviting when you get home. If you have cleaning that needs to be done, or piles of laundry waiting for you it can make you feel like you didn’t even have a vacation. Clean sheets on your bed will also help you sleep better once you get home. Happy vacation!