Even the best sleepers can have their sleep patterns disrupted while travelling, so we’ve put together some of the best tips to help you sleep well when you travel.

Sleep well when you travel

Travelling can interfere with your sleep enormously, especially if you’re travelling to different time zones. However, with a bit of forward planning, you can adjust to a new environment, and get a good night’s sleep away from home.

Sleep well when you travel

In the hotel

  • If you can, take your own pillow with you. Sometimes having a little home comfort can help you doze off. Having your own pillow will also avoid the problem of the hotel pillow being too high, too low or too soft or hard.
  • Avoid caffeine-related stimulants such as tea, coffee, energy drinks and chocolate before bed.
  • Create your own personalised ‘sleep-kit’ to take with you. Include things like sleep-inducing essential oils, eye-masks, ear plugs, warm socks, and herbal tea sachets.
  • Make use of extra blankets if the room is too cold.
  • Ask for a room away from elevators and stair-wells to avoid disturbances.
  • Use the ‘Do not disturb’ sign.

On the plane

  • Choose your seat wisely! A window seat gives you something to lean on, and you’ll have some control over the window shade. You’ll also avoid fellow passengers scrambling over you when they use the bathroom.
  • Bring a small blanket or ask for one.
  • Bring a neck pillow.
  • Use an eye mask to block out light.
  • Wear noise-cancelling headphones to block out noise.
  • Dress in comfortable layers, so you can avoid becoming too hot or too cold.
  • Let the flight attendant know you want to sleep so they won’t interrupt you with the drink or snack cart.
  • Stay hydrated but avoid drinking out of boredom — all those toilet trips! — and avoid caffeine if you can.

In a different time-zone

  • Try to adjust your sleep schedule before you go, by shifting your bedtime and waking time either earlier or later in the day to match the time of your destination.
  • Expose yourself to light for at least 15 to 30 minutes after you wake up top help reset your circadian rhythm.
  • Avoid napping when you get to your destination and try to stay awake until the local ‘bed time’.
  • Try to arrange a flight that lands in the evening so you don’t have to stay awake too long.
  • Eat lightly before bedtime and avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Plan extra rest time when you return home

Not everyone will get enough sleep well when they travel, despite following all the advice above. That’s why it pays to factor in some extra sleep time when you return home. Go to bed an hour or two earlier to help catch up on your sleep, and try to make sure your days aren’t too exhausting when you get home.

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