6 Sleep Tricks for Summer Trips
Getting out and having fun during the summer months is a big deal for most Americans, which might explain why we spent over $100 billion on vacations in 2017 alone.
Whether your summer vacation involves visiting family across the country, hitting up an amusement park, or relaxing at the beach, a good time is pretty much guaranteed.
But getting the rest you need to be able to make the most of your vacation can be tricky, to say the least. During your trip, you’re most likely either sleeping on a hotel mattress, a pullout sofa, or maybe even in your childhood bed.
Getting the sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to truly enjoy your vacation can be rough. That’s why we gathered up some expert tips to help you get great rest during your summer vacation.
1. Set Yourself Up for Sleeping Success
Chances are you’ve experienced vacation sleep disturbances at least once in your life, so you already know how miserable not being able to sleep when you’re away from home can be, especially when you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
One of the best things you can do when you know you’re going to be sleeping in a strange place is doing some research ahead of time, so you’ll be prepped for sleeping success.
If you’ll be staying in a hotel…
- Check out photos and reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor
- Request a room away from busy streets or airports
- Consider staying on a higher level for less noise
If you’ll be staying with family…
- Discuss sleeping arrangements in advance
- Ask about household wake-sleep schedules
- Ask for a fan if you tend to run hot when sleeping
2. Pack Smart for Better Sleep
Chances are when you’re packing for your vacation, sleep is the farthest thing from your mind. After all, you’re worrying about having fun, which means you’re mostly focused on not forgetting your swimsuit or sunscreen.
But if you want to get the most bang for your vacation buck, you also want to make sure that you’re well-rested, and that’s where even the most useful packing tips might not be enough to get the job done.
Your best bet is to take the time to really stop and think about what items will help you sleep in a strange place. The good news is that you probably already have some of them around the house, and even if you don’t, it won’t cut into your vacation budget too much to pack smart for better sleep.
So what should you pack to help you get some refreshing rest? Check out our list of must-have items for better sleep while away from home…
Sleep Mask – No matter when or where you hit the hay, having a sleep mask in your luggage will help you to block out unwanted light and fall asleep faster.
Earplugs – Many of us need complete silence to sleep, but when you’re not at home, controlling sound disturbances can be difficult. Pack some foam earplugs to help keep noise at bay and sleep sounder.
Headphones – If you prefer soothing sounds to silence when trying to drift off, don’t forget to toss a pair of headphones into your bag so you can lull yourself to sleep with a bit of relaxing music or white noise.
Sleep Apps – There’s an app for just about everything now, including getting to sleep. You might want to take a look at some of the top-rated apps for better sleep and download one or two on your smartphone before hitting the road.
Portable Fan – If you tend to run hot while trying to sleep, don’t panic! You can keep a cool head even without being able to control the thermostat by packing a small portable fan for the bedside table at the hotel or your family member’s home.
3. Don’t Discount the Importance of Pillows
One of your biggest concerns about sleeping away from home is probably not being able to take your perfect mattress with you. And while that’s definitely a bummer, you can at least control another important part of getting better sleep.
We’re talking about supportive and comfy pillows that will help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed. Bringing your pillow (and even your pillowcase) from home is a great way to make sure you don’t toss and turn all night, or get up with a stiff neck.
But what if you don’t have space to bring a pillow along with you? That’s where travel pillows can come in super handy, and save you a lot of pain and frustration. There are some amazing travel pillows out there, and they come in a wide range of sizes and prices.
If you don’t want to pick up a pillow just for your vacation or have to worry about packing your own pillow from home, you might want to consider speaking with your hotel’s concierge about the possibility of switching the pillows in your room out for something that better fits your needs.
Most hotels have a variety of pillows on hand at any given time, and will be happy to change your current pillows out for ones that are softer (or firmer) for you. All it takes is a quick phone call to the front desk!
4. Bring Along the Comforts of Home
We’ve talked before about the importance of turning your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary to help your get the highest possible quality of rest. But what about when you’re away from home?
While you obviously can’t take your room darkening curtains, soothing wall colors, or other relaxation-inducing decorative touches on the road with you, there are some things that you can bring on vacation with you that will make you feel right at home.
Think about your nightly routine and pack anything and everything that will have you feeling as if you’re surrounded by the creature comforts you’re accustomed to at your home base.
- If you always have a cup of tea before bed, bring along your favorite mug.
- If you have a special, extra-comfy bedtime blanket, don’t leave it behind.
- If you usually wear a fuzzy robe and slippers, bring them along for the trip.
Simple tricks like bringing a photo of your family, a favorite pair of socks, or bubble bath that you use for a pre-bed soak in the tub will help you to feel ultra-comfortable in unfamiliar settings.
And this will turn any hotel room or family member’s spare room into your home away from home, giving you the upper hand when it comes to getting the sleep that you want and need – no matter where you happen to be in the world!
5. Add a Soothing Scent
Research has shown that certain scents work wonders for sleep aromatherapy, helping us to drift off faster and easier by using essential oils like lavender, vanilla, or sandalwood.
This can be especially true when it comes to sleeping away from home, as an unfamiliar smell (or worse, an overall funky odor) can cause issues when it comes to being able to fall asleep and stay that way.
Luckily, bringing along the familiar and soothing scents of home can be as easy as packing a small bottle of linen spray that you enjoy or adding several drops of calming essential oil to a cotton pad and placing it in your temporary bedroom.
Just be sure that any liquids you bring meet airline guidelines if you’ll be flying to your vacation destination, and that they’re secured in leak-proof containers to prevent messy and frustrating spills during travel.
6. Keep Your Regular Bedtime Routine
You’ve probably already heard how important setting up a regular bedtime routine is to getting the best night’s sleep that you can. And even though you’ll be away from home, it’s still just as crucial when you’re on vacation.
In fact, you should do your best to hit the sack even earlier than you normally would, especially on the first night, since you’re in unfamiliar surroundings and a strange bed.
Give yourself plenty of time to get the sleep that you need to be able to enjoy your vacation with family and friends, and try some of these tips for sticking to a healthy bedtime routine that will have you waking up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the fun-packed days of summer.
Nap Smart – Nothing is more satisfying than having the time to nap. Just make sure that you’re not causing future sleep issues with your napping sessions by following the smart napping laws of keeping your siestas to between 15 and 90 minutes.
Power Down – Blue light from your electronic devices can wreak havoc on your ability to sleep at night, thanks to the disturbance it causes with your natural sleep-wake cycle. To avoid problems with falling asleep (whether on vacation or not), your best bet is to turn off all of your devices about 90 minutes before hitting the hay.
Lower the Lights – And while you’re at it, go ahead and dim the lights when you’re powering down. Lower lighting gives the mind and body the signal that bedtime is approaching and helps to encourage the release of melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for sleep.
Keep Things Cool – Sleep experts have found that the ideal bedtime temperature is right around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so whenever possible, be sure to bump the thermostat down to cool things off and keep the misery of tossing and turning at bay.
Snack Right – Everyone loves a good bedtime snack, just make sure that you are eating foods that promote sleep, instead of disturbing it. You should avoid heavy snacks that are packed with protein and focus on lighter fair, like nuts or yogurt.
Don’t Forget to Relax – Although vacations are supposed to be fun, they can also be quite stressful. Be sure to give yourself time to relax in the evenings by imbibing in a warm bath, doing some light yoga, or reading a good book.
More Ways to Get Better Sleep on Summer Vacation
Want to know even more about how to get awesome sleep? Check out these other helpful hints for getting a night of peaceful rest while travelling during the summer months.
How to Ditch Jet Lag (and Sleep Better) While You Travel
6 Tips for Getting Better Sleep While Traveling with Kids