While traveling can be an adventure, exposing us to new places and experiences, it can also be a rough time for our sleep. Leaving the familiar rhythm of our time zone opens us up to jet lag, which can keep us up late into the night or have us sleeping long past the start of business hours (check out our post full of awesome jet lag-beating tips written by a doctor of neurobiology and behavior here). Apart from jet lag, though, there’s one other source of discomfort we run into when traveling—the unpredictability of our unfamiliar sleeping environment.
Few things make falling asleep more difficult than being in a new place, in a new bed, and trying to force yourself to be as comfortable as you usually are at home. It’s really not a problem that we think about until we find ourselves in this situation, but the comfort of our own bedroom (thanks to the detailed control we have over our home environment) plays a big role in getting us to sleep quicker.
The good news is, with a few small additions to your bedtime setup, you can turn any hotel room or guest bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary of sleep. Assemble these recommendations to make your own sleep travel pack—they’ll fit in a small bag the size of a makeup bag. Bring these bedtime boosters along next time you travel to help you get a good night’s sleep no matter where you are.
Eye mask: Even a sliver of light can prevent you from getting good-quality sleep. An eye mask is a great way to ensure that no light slips through (especially useful in hotels where lights from the hallway or city can slip in through doorways and windows). Here’s an option for an affordable, lightweight eye mask.
Ear plugs: especially handy for travel when nighttime noise can be wildly unpredictable (rooming with snoring family or friends, for example). Here’s a pack that should last you a few trips.
White noise: White noise helps to create a consistent aural environment so you’re less likely to be awakened by intermittent noises, of which there are plenty in hotels, with people checking in at odd hours and many up late dealing with jet lag themselves. Try out this portable option.
Lavender essential oil: lavender has long been known for its relaxing properties. Bring a diffuser along, and with a few drops of lavender essential oil, you can change any room into a calming environment.
There really is no place like home, but when it comes to making sure you’re sleeping right while traveling, you should try to get as close to the real thing as possible. Hopefully these traveling companions will help!
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