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4 tips to get better sleep while travelling (for the whole family)

4 tips to get better sleep while travelling (for the whole family)
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Sleeping on the go is always hard. Foreign noises, unpredictable schedules or an uncomfortable mattress can truly impact the quality of your sleep. Add to that some stress or excitement and you’re bound to lose some “zzz”s when away from home.

The solution? Bring some of the comforts of home on the road with you. Whether that’s a favorite pillow, a noise machine or a cot for the kids, making a hotel room feel less foreign will help you get better sleep.

Make your ride comfortable

To get better sleep while on the move, you might need to do some travel hacking. Whether riding a train or flying, you can start your trip on the right foot by buying a good-quality travel pillow. There are ergonomically designed travel pillows for side and back sleepers, so pick the one that better matches your sleeping style.

Flights are notorious for causing back and neck pain – not only during the flight itself but for days after. Picking the best possible seat can at least help you gain some extra legroom and comfort while you’re sleeping. As a general rule, try to get a window seat as that gives you something to lean against and a chance to control the window shade and how much light comes in. You’ll also have more peace if you avoid the seats near the back of the plane, where the toilets and the cabin crew are.

If you’re taking an overnight train and can afford it, get a compartment. A couchette is always more comfortable (the lower berth offers more space) than trying to sleep sitting up. Compartments in the middle of a carriage are usually quieter and shake less, so you might end up with a smoother ride (and sleep).

Make the kids feel at home

According to The Sleep Council, children need a regular bedtime routine for quality sleep. This routine is already unsettled when travelling, but you can at least bring some normalcy into their evenings with a few tricks. If bedtime at home means a bath followed by quiet activities or story time, you can do the same while travelling.

Make sure you pack your child’s favorite toy, pyjamas or book. Plugging a nightlight next to the bed can also be relaxing as your child will be able to see you nearby. If your child sleeps in a cot at home, buy a travel version to take with you. Adding a favorite blanket will make it feel familiar and hopefully improve sleep.

Maintain a routine

The kids aren’t the only ones who could benefit from a good sleeping routine while travelling. You can also get better sleep if you go to bed at around the same time you do back home on most nights. Maintaining a good sleeping rhythm will help keep your body in sync so you’re not exhausted all the time.

As much as possible, sync up with the local awake-sleep schedule. This is especially important if you’re travelling to another time zone and daytime feels like evening or night to you. The faster you adjust to the local time, the better you’ll sleep. You can trick your body into adjusting by taking a warm shower as soon as you wake up, then grabbing some hot breakfast right away. Increasing your body’s temperature sends the signal that it’s time to “up and go”.

Fix what really bothers you

If you travel regularly, you’ve probably noticed something you really miss from home at bedtime. This could be your pillow, the sounds outside your window, the temperature you like in your room. It could even be your evening fluffy socks. To make sleeping easier, find ways to reproduce those things during your travels.

If you’re used to noise when you sleep, buy a small portable white noise machine or download an app to your phone. If you have space, bring your pillow with you. Otherwise, call the hotel in advance to see if they can provide you with a pillow that matches your needs (memory foam, feather-free, hard or soft).

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