That comfortable bed, the steady breathing of a pet, or the warmth of another human being may be our sense of home at bedtime. During our trips, the absence of a familiar sanctuary may greatly contribute to our inability to sleep well. However, as we all know, activity balanced with good rest is key to making the best of our travels. If you find it difficult to sleep during your trips, try the following:
1. Know the factors of your trip that could give you sleepless nights
Will you be traveling half the world away from home and definitely incurring jet lag later? Then you might need to start adjusting your body clock days before your trip. Or, you could allow yourself to adjust during the first few days at your destination with minimal activities. What is the weather at your destination? Is your room equipped with proper, noiseless air conditioning? Temperature, noise levels, lighting, and level of comfort are factors that could affect your sleep. Knowing these things will help you decide which hotel to book, what room to take, or the sleeping aids you must bring.
2. Be conscious of what comprises your meal at dinner
Being on a trip is not an excuse to forget eating healthy. Since you have trouble sleeping, you have to be extra picky at dinner. First, you have to know about the naturally-occurring substance in the brain called melatonin. Melatonin helps us become naturally sleepy at night. Sometimes, however, it needs a boost so it can function well. There are also other substances that help us fall asleep easily.
a) Tryptophan + carbohydrates. Tryptophan is an amino acid that with carbohydrates, aids the production of melatonin. Foods that are rich in this substance are: turkey, shrimp, cod, and lobster.
Eat these with rice, bread, or crackers.
b) Vitamin B6 that is present in tuna and salmon aids the production of melatonin.
c) Calcium also helps tryptophan produce melatonin. Other than dairy products, greens such as spinach and kale are rich in calcium.
d) Magnesium, on the other hand, helps improve the quality of sleep. This is present in
spinach, soy beans, and prunes.
- In any case, avoid eating a heavy meal before bed. Eat more salad greens than the main course because they’re lighter.
- Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol at night because it diminishes the quality of sleep. And, you don’t really fancy a headache while on a tour the next day.
- If you can’t help getting midnight snack, then eat cherries or almonds. Cherries boost melatonin production, while almonds are rich in magnesium. Alternatively, drink warm milk or eat any dairy product for that tryptophan-boosting calcium.
3. Skip coffee at lunch and the hours after
It is common knowledge that caffeine keeps us awake, but not that it takes a lot of hours before being fully used up by our body. A cup of cappuccino may be irresistible in the middle of an exhausting tour, but if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, it is best to restrict your caffeine intake in the morning.
4. On the other hand, drink lots of water
We are already supposed to drink about 10 glasses of water a day. Being on a trip means you need to increase this amount due to heightened activity and longer hours of exposure to sun. Drinking water at night specially helps us sleep better because it is at night when our body rejuvenates itself and water helps balance everything. Drink water a couple of hours before sleeping so you don’t find yourself waking up for the lavatory.
5. Get natural sleeping aids
A hot bath and a relaxing massage before bedtime are natural allies of good sleep. You’ll be extra grateful getting a massage after a long day of walking. Also, did you know that lavender and jasmine are called scents of sleep? Pack your oil burner with you and get your room smelling of spa long after you’ve had your massage. Make sure your room is dimly lit and cool as well.
Try all these tips on your next trip and find yourself enjoying your trips better and ticking off your itinerary with satisfaction.