Let’s be real—usually, you need a vacation from your vacation. Why? Most likely, you’ve been skimping on sleep during your travels. And because adequate rest keeps our brains and body functioning, a lack of it may have you feeling sluggish upon your return.1
But there are ways you can get good sleep while on vacation or a work trip, and come home feeling rested. Use these tips to help you get quality sleep while traveling.
Be Mindful Of What & When You Eat
Did you know that what you eat, but also when can affect your sleep?2 Fast food and changes in time zones can throw off your normal eating routine, so it can be easy to get off track and reach for the sugar. Here’s how your sleep may be impacted:
● Sugar and caffeine are both stimulants that keep your mind active, and can make it more difficult to nod off, especially if consumed too close to bedtime.3
● As tempting as it may be to grab an evening snack while on vacation, you may want to reconsider: late-night snacking can lead to weight gain. Research has also shown that eating late at night may impact the quality of your sleep.4
Our suggestion: load up on a hearty, healthy breakfast (it may help keep you feeling satiated throughout the day), and be mindful of when you eat. By following a daylight nutrition strategy, such as time-restricted feeding, you can focus on eating within a 12-hour time frame and then letting your body rejuvenate for the following 12-hours (which includes sleep), by abstaining from food or beverages besides water and herbal tea. Learn more about following a daylight nutrition strategy and how you can integrate it into your routine.
Plan for Jet Lag
Jet lag, also known as flight fatigue, can cause exhaustion and insomnia as your body adapts to a new time zone. One of the main reasons this happens is due to a disturbance in your natural internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm.5 According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily 24-hour cycle, divided by light and dark phases.6 Throwing it off can impact our levels of energy, metabolism, and more.7
If you’re trying to combat jet lag and get sufficient sleep while traveling, consider the following:
● If there’s a considerable gap in the time difference, try not to have too many pre-planned activities the day after you arrive—so you can make sure to catch enough Z’s once you’re done unpacking. Be careful not to sleep in too much, as you’ll want to adjust to the hours of your new location naturally.
● If traveling by plane, try to book a flight that will help you transition well into your destination’s time zone. For example, if you depart late at night and arrive midday, try to catch some shut eye on flight, so that you can adjust a little more seamlessly.
Keep Afternoon Naps Short
Although ducking into your hotel for an afternoon nap may be tempting if you’re feeling rundown, sleeping too late in the day can interfere with your sleep.8 The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping naps to around 20 - 30 minutes.9 A short nap can be helpful to give you a boost of energy without ruining your chances of falling asleep in the evening.
Try to Destress
Although traveling can be exciting, it can also lead to stress. From feeling like you’re falling behind when you’re out of the office, to worrying about future obligations upon your return—your mind can start to run wild just as you’re trying to fall asleep.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night while traveling, meditation or breathing techniques may help quiet your busy mind and ease into slumber. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Sit somewhere comfortable before getting into bed and practice focusing on your breath. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, then, a long, slow exhale out. Repeat this a few times through or however long it takes to help you feel a little more relaxed.
Use a visual breathing method. Imagining a picture may help your mind have a point of focus for relaxation.
- When you inhale, imagine you are filling up a balloon. Keep sipping in air, blowing up the balloon ever bigger. The rubber stretches thinner and thinner. Then, when ready to let go, exhale and imagine the balloon shrinking back down.
- Imagine your inhale as a wave rippling across the ocean towards the tide. As you exhale, the wave crashes and foam rolls up onto the sand.
- Balloon Imagery
If you’re still feeling anxious while on the road, here are a couple of helpful tips on how to stop worrying.
We hope that with these tips in mind, you may be able to sleep a little sounder while traveling. Bon voyage!
 Source: Medicine Net https://www.medicinenet.com/jet_lag/article.htm#what_are_other_symptoms_and_signs_of_jet_lag
 Source: The National Sleep Foundation https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
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