For many people, sleeping well while traveling overseas is a misnomer. Between rapid time zone transitions and the change in sleeping environment, the prospect of getting a good night’s sleep in another country can seem daunting. However, by following the five simple steps below, you can help ensure that you receive sufficient rest while you are traveling overseas.
1) Try to get some shuteye on the plane
“Get a window seat for night flights. If you sleep on your right side at home go for the right side of the plane.”
– Heather Poole, Flight Attendant and Author
Choosing a window seat enables you to control your light exposure while also allowing you to lean your head against the side of the plane. Additionally, because there is no one sitting to your inside, you do not have to stand up every time someone in your row needs to use the bathroom or access an overhead bin.
2) Avoid consuming too much alcohol and caffeine before and during travel
Some people think that drinking alcohol will help them sleep on the plane. While it may help you sleep for a couple of hours, the effects are short-term. Alcohol can also lead to headaches and make you thirsty, causing you to consume too much water and require excessive visits to the bathroom. Caffeine can also result in frequent trips to the bathroom and can leave you feeling jittery and unable to sleep.
3) Reset your watch to coincide with your destination time zone
The path to a peaceful night’s sleep begins when you reset your watch to reflect your destination time zone. A good rule of thumb is to reset your watch and devices as soon as you board your plane to fly out of the country. And do not forget to reset your watch again as you board your flight for your return trip home.
4) Resist the urge to nap as soon as you check in your hotel room
Fighting the urge to lie down and sleep for a few hours might be the most challenging tip on this list. After all, you might be running on fumes after spending the last 24 hours of your life awake, on planes, and navigating through crowded airports. Do your best to keep yourself awake until nighttime arrives in your destination time zone. Sometimes it helps to have activities planned for your arrival date so you will not be tempted to stay in your room and nap. If you can stay awake until the evening, you will be well on your way to making a successful adjustment to your new time zone.
5) Do not rely on sleep aids
“If you’re traveling alone, be very careful about using any sleep medicine unless you know how it affects you.”
– Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D, Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation
Just as it can be tempting to nap as soon as you arrive at your hotel, it can also be tempting to take sleep aids in an effort to try to regulate your sleep patterns. However, this practice can be detrimental, especially if you take too many pills. A good rule of thumb is to consult with your doctor before you decide to take any sleep aids with you on an overseas trip.
The Bottom Line
Overcoming the jet lag that often accompanies overseas travel can seem like a daunting prospect – even for the most seasoned travelers. However, you can beat jet lag by following the five steps outlined above. To learn more ways to sleep soundly no matter where your travels may take you, contact the sleep care professionals with My Green Mattress. They have the products and expertise to help you sleep soundly at home and abroad.