For some, the holiday season means packing up the car for road trips, or boarding airplanes or trains to spend time with loved ones. This extended traveling time can provide the perfect opportunity for catching some shut-eye so you arrive fresh-eyed and ready to join the party.
Getting enough sleep is important to your overall health and wellbeing – as well as successful gatherings with no drama. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to remember to take the time to rest when you can – even when you're on the go.
Admittedly, sleeping while traveling can be tricky. It's all about comfort, safety and taking care of yourself and your needs. Consider these tips:
While You're In Transit
Wear Comfortable Clothes: Wear something that doesn’t restrict you or your circulation and helps you to feel most at ease while traveling. Think warm sweatpants, sweatshirts and slippers. If you’re stuck wearing fancy holiday attire, consider loosening your clothes and taking off your shoes. A blanket does wonders for creating a warm, comfortable setting
Create a Dark Sleep Environment: Hang blankets or clothing in the windows both for privacy and to create a darker sleeping environment. Even better, try a sleep mask so you can create the same dark, relaxing sleep environment that you have in your bedroom. While it may not be as comfortable as your bedroom, it’s better than no sleep at all!
Invest in a Trusted Travel Pillow: A good travel pillow can bring a measure of comfort when you’re in an awkward or uncomfortable position in the car, train or airplane. Either pack your favorite pillow or purchase a smaller neck pillow that is covered in memory foam to hold your neck upright and keep it from being stuck in an awkward position when you are forced to sleep upright.
Bring Noise-Canceling Headphones: If you’re lucky enough to catch some zzzs while in the plane, avoid being woken up by crying babies and overhead announcements in the plane by wearing headphones. Traveling by car? Wear them to muffle the sounds of your own kids whining in the car, or the sound of the radio that your trusted driver is listening to.
Once You Arrive
Bring Your Own Pillow: For a short time, your body may be able to sleep on whatever temporary mattress or couch you’re assigned to, but your head and neck may not be as forgiving. Bringing your own pillow provides an added sense of comfort; you can almost pretend you’re in your own bed. (And, I lied about the mattress; your back may get very angry at you, but you can’t fit your mattress in a suitcase!)
Pack a White Noise Machine or Put a Sleep App on Your Phone: The goal is to trick yourself into thinking that you’re quietly sleeping in your own bedroom. Having to hear other people closing doors, watching TV, laughing, using the bathroom, etc. reminds you that you’re in an unfamiliar environment and keeps you awake.
Stick to Your Same Sleep Routine: Yes, you’re away from home and celebrating with loved ones, so of course you’ll have some late nights. It’s part of the holidays! But do try to keep some semblance of your normal sleep schedule. It’ll make it easier to fall asleep at night, and you’ll look and feel better. You’ll even be more fun to be around.
Watch the Alcohol Consumption: While you’re giddily toasting and imbibing, remember that later you may be cursing those extra glasses of wine when you wake up in the middle of the night. Alcohol may induce sleep but it interrupts your sleep later so beware.
Regardless of where your holiday plans take you this year, I hope they are filled with warmth, comfort and a few nights of good sleep!