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How to get better sleep when you travel

One of the most challenging aspects of travel can be the lack of sleep. Whether it’s changing time zones, taking the red eye, or a noisy hotel room, sleepiness is the last thing you need when you’re out of your element.

Here are a few ways to get more sleep on your next trip.

Pick your seat wisely.

Sleeping on a plane isn’t easy, especially when you’re crammed in economy. However, I do have a few tips that will set you up for success.

First, if you’re really prioritizing sleep, go for the window. It’ll give you something to learn against. Avoid sitting in an area where people congregate, like near the bathrooms. Doors opening and closing, toilets flushing, people chatting as they wait are disruptions you don’t need.

And lastly, here’s a pro tip: Win the crew over with treats. Cookies or chocolates go a long way with flight attendants and gate agents. A five or ten-dollar thank you investment might reward you with a more premo seat.

Embrace the bendable headrest.

Did you know many airplane headrests move? That’s right, you bend the sides to better cradle your head!

Bring an eye mask and ear plugs.

Noise and light play a huge role in whether or not you get a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s on a plane or in a hotel, an eye mask and ear plugs can go a long way. For flights, noise canceling headphones work wonders.

Stock up on warm, cozy items.

I always travel with a pair of cozy socks or slippers, and a scarf or light travel blanket. You can’t sleep soundly if you’re freezing!

Download the White Noise app (and pack a bluetooth speaker)

Sometimes it’s quiet….Too quiet. That can be a problem for those of us needing a good night’s rest. The White Noise App is a great thing to have on your phone when you’re trying to relax in an unfamiliar place. For maximum oomph, sync your phone to a Bluetooth speaker for a more robust white noise experience.

Pack a Mini Humidifier

The only place drier than an airplane might be a hotel room. Add some moisture back into your environment with this portable humidifier. It’s small, quiet and helps you in your quest for feeling refreshed on the road.


Travel with a Lavender Essential Oil Roller

Lavender calms and soothes, and this tiny rollerball is the perfect thing to stash in your travel bag. Simply roll it on your wrists, behind your ears, and neck and you’re on your way to Relaxation Town, USA.

Take your Melatonin

I honestly don’t know what I’d do without my “Tony” for long-haul flights. it occurs naturally in your body so you’re not taking a drug, and it doesn’t completely knock you out like a sleeping pill. It just relaxes you, like you had a nice hot bath. It can also help get you on track with a new time zone—just know that there really is no magic pill for jetlag.

Bring your own tea

A handful of tea bags take up zero space in your luggage. Bring a few bags of chamomile or sleep-inducing blends, add hot water and you’re set.

Take a relaxing bath.

better sleep travel

Baths are a polarizing topic. Some people hate them, others love them. If you’re a bath person, taking one in a nice hotel is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So relaxing after a long day of travel or sightseeing! When you’re staying somewhere nice, bring a few bath bombs or fancy bath salts with pretty dried flowers. The best part (and I am sorry for saying this, housekeeping) is that you don’t have to scrub the tub afterward. It’s literally someone else’s job to do that! Just be sure to leave a nice tip for the staff.

The Calm App

This hand app covers everything calm-related, from quelling Anxiety to getting some Zzzzzzs. Guided meditations to help you relax; bedtime stories help you fall asleep; gentle yoga and stretching routines to soothe the body; plus many more features designed you’re guaranteed to love.

What do you do to sleep better when you travel? Share in the comments!

Whether it’s changing time zones, taking the red eye, or a noisy hotel room, sleepiness is the last thing you need when you’re out of your element. Here are a few ways to get more sleep on your next trip.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. I love your ideas!
    The only things I do differently include using Relax Melodies app for white noise and using a Buff for my neck. When my neck is warm then my body is warm and Buff’s are teeny tiny.
    I also carry a collapsible water bottle which I fill with filtered water (at many airports now near the water fountains) to stay hydrated.
    My sister-in-law swears that you’re my doppelgänger! 🙂
    Happy Trails!

  2. Cocculus is a homeopathic remedy specifically for jet lag. You can get it in various strengths. 30C (lowest), 1M (medium strength) 10M (strongest). Me I like the 10M. A roommate traveled from Japan to U.S. and she had bad jet lag and couldn’t thank me enough for sharing my 10M. Just 1 pellet saved the day!

  3. I always sleep horribly when I travel… I think it’s because I am worried about my family at home!! Thanks for your tips and suggestions! I am open to anything that helps!

  4. I always rely on the jet lag diet to get my body prepared for multiple time zones. I’ve traveled to India twice from the USA and immediately fell asleep upon arrival and work up with no jet lag.

  5. Collapsible water bottles are a great thing at the airport. Fill them up once past security and stay hydrated! How do you get a good rest and sleep if your eyes and throat are dry and itchy?

    A sensible meal prior to boarding your plane along with loose comfortable and warm clothing is the next big thing to consider.

  6. Here are some tips to help you sleep better on long flights & avoid jetlag

    1) Put away your ear pods or headphones the minute you enter the cabin
    2) Stay away from any screens on your gadgets or the airplane
    3) Close your eyes as soon as you settle into your seat and take long slow deep breaths
    4) Plan ahead. Eat lightly & avoid alcohol 1-2 days before and during the flight. The dry air on the plane is bad enough. You don’t need your nasal passages getting congested from the tanins, sulfides & other chemicals in alcoholic beverages
    5) Wear loose layered clothing that will keep you warm or enable you to shed pieces if the cabin is too warm
    6) As soon as you arrive at your destination get on the local schedule. Avoid taking a nap.
    7) Drink lots of water before, during and after your flight

    Happy traveling!

  7. Who makes the terrific scarf displayed and where can I get one. Looks like the perfect gift for my daughter. Thanks!

  8. I’ll mention US – by car:
    If planned route I enter hotel info etc into GPS so everything is available as ‘Recent /Previous Location’ as we go.
    Water, fruit in car.
    Travel pillows for hotel. (Hotel pillows can be very unsanitary & definitely very overstuffed for me)
    At hotel, before unpacking I check AC, TV reception, hot water, shower, “noisiness’ of room/area. If a problem with any, call down to front desk to change.

  9. Samantha, I never thought of looking for a white noise app for my phone! Trying to sleep on a plane for me is next to impossible for any number of reasons. I’ve now added two apps that “sound” like they will really be an asset for me. Thank you! Jane Brown, Granger, Iowa

  10. Samantha,
    Your comment about treats for the plane staff has worked numerous times.
    We usually bring Twizzlers and it’s worked when we’ve had to check in bags at the terminal and with flight attendants. After you give them the treat, some nice perks happen and you don’t have even have to ask. We never thought about it before you mentioned it, so merci beacuoup. Keep on rockin’!

  11. For long haul, overnight flights, I do a bit of a sleep deprivation the night before so that I sleep well on the plane. I try to time myself to my destination as soon as I get on the plane. (I used to do that when I got to the airport and almost missed a flight when I changed my watch, so I wait until I’m aboard.) Eating lightly before the flight allows me to ignore the food service and get the maximum sleep on board. Definitely no screens. A few years ago I added eye mask and noise canceling headphones, both of which help immensely.

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