Whether you are traveling a hundred miles by car or across many time zones by plane, your sleep is very important. Here are some tips that might help.
If you are traveling by car, make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the journey.
Stop every two hours to stretch and relax.
Avoid alcohol consumption the night before. This can cause problems with remaining sleep and may leave you dangerously sleepy the next day.
If traveling by plane, consider noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.
Drink plenty of fluids to combat the dry air and potential for dehydration while flying.
Consider wearing eyeshades while traveling in order to allow you to sleep.
If crossing many time zones to the east, try to get to bed one hour earlier daily until you are falling asleep three hours earlier. When traveling to the west, get to bed one hour later until you are falling asleep three hours later.
Avoid bright light within a few hours of falling asleep at your destination. Bright light will hinder your ability to fall asleep. However, exposure to bright light in the morning at your destination will help to facilitate sleep at night.
If possible, try to get a flight that arrives at your destination in the evening and stay up until 10 PM local time before going to sleep.
The use of small doses of melatonin taken at bedtime at your destination may be helpful. However, contact you health care provider first to see if there are any contraindications.
When choosing a hotel, try to get a room away from the elevator or ice machine.
Make sure the window shades work properly.
Avoid a room on the street.
Call ahead and request your pillow preference.
By Robert Rosenberg