Airplane Travel = No Sleep. Doesn’t It?
Are you dreading your next flight because you struggle to fall asleep even in your own bed? Check out the following insightful tips that will help you get a better sleep while traveling.
The quality of your sleep whether you’re at home or away depends on a number of different factors. Your chances of getting a better sleep are greatly increased if you use the following tips on your next trip.
Tip 1 – Set-up A Night-Time Routine Well In Advance
Establish a routine before your trip to help your body prepare for sleep. By doing so well in advance of your trip you will greatly increase your chances of feeling rested after you land. Your body relies on routines. So to help you cope, it is necessary to do some ‘brain-training.’ Training your brain will help your body get the message when it’s time to switch-off.
A basic bedtime routine should include switching off your screens (phone, tablet, T.V) at least 30-minutes prior to retiring. If you must use your phone or tablet before bed, then try using an app such as Twilight or Nightshift. These apps act as a filter to eliminate the blue light that is emitted from your device. Blue light is known to interrupt the body’s circadian rhythm that enables you to fall asleep.
Tip 2 – Position Yourself Well To Avoid Indigestion
It’s a given that if you are not comfortable, you simply will not be able to fall asleep. Your choice of seat is extremely important in terms of giving your body the message that it’s time to rest. Choosing a window seat is obviously a better option because you can use the wall for support. If you are a right-side sleeper, then choose your window seat on the right of the plane and vice versa for a left-side sleeper. It is actually better to sleep on your left side, especially if you are prone to having digestive issues, which are common while traveling. Studies have proven that sleeping on your right-side can contribute to symptoms of acid reflux and indigestion.
The physiological reasons for this are related to the position of your digestive organs such as the liver, which produces bile that is necessary for the emulsification of fats and the neutralizing of acids in the stomach. Sleeping on your right-side actually puts pressure on these organs and impedes the digestion process, contributing to sleep disturbances.
Tip 3 – Find Your Temperature Comfort-Zone
Everybody has a different optimal body temperature that is conducive to providing a comfortable sleep. Since the temperatures on a plane tend to fluctuate depending on the time of year and age of the aircraft, it’s essential to dress in layers so that you can maintain your ideal body temperature to drift-off to dreamland. If you get cold easily, consider bringing your own compact blanket rather than relying on the flimsy ones provided by the airline. At the very least, you’ll have the peace of mind that it’s clean and your natural scent that your blanket carries will trick your brain into feeling comfortable.
Tip 4 – Using Sleep-Aids – What To Avoid
Many travelers rely on over-the-counter sleep aids combined with alcohol to induce sleep while flying. Although the combination can sometimes be fool-proof to help you fall asleep fast, your sleep will be interrupted. It is a well-known fact that alcohol is a depressant. This is why travelers choose to have a glass of wine to try and induce sleep. While this may be true, alcohol interferes with your REM cycle. Your REM cycle is responsible for allowing your body to achieve restorative sleep. Alcohol is also a diuretic. This is bad news for those who already are frequent bathroom users. Your sleep may be interrupted by having to visit the restroom more frequently if you drink alcohol before bed. So are there any better options? See the next tip.
Tip 5 – The Sleep-Aids To Choose If Necessary
Instead of choosing an over-the-counter chemical-filled sleep-aid, try using a natural alternative such as melatonin or valerian root. Melatonin is the hormone in your body that is responsible for regulating your body’s sleep-wake cycle. There are various factors that affect the body’s ability to produce melatonin, including exposure to blue-light (as mentioned in Tip 1) as well as environmental light. It is available without a prescription and is a great option to enhance your quality of sleep while traveling.
The other natural option to choose is Valerian Root. Valerian Root is a natural herb which many travelers use for its muscle relaxing, stress-relieving, and sedative properties. Before choosing any of these options mentioned, check with your doctor to see if there are any contraindications related to any other medications you may be taking. You should also avoid taking melatonin and valerian root together, taking them with over-the-counter sleep aids, and most definitely avoid combining them with alcohol.
Getting a good sleep either at home or while traveling is something that most of the population struggles with. While most of us suffer from the effects of leading hectic lives, your holiday should be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation. Start your vacation off feeling better rested with these simple tips to help you get a better sleep while traveling.