For all of the wonderful things about traveling -- seeing new places, trying new food, making new friends -- there is one thing that constantly gives us trouble: sleep!
When we are out globe-trotting we leave behind the cool comfort of our bedrooms -- the perfectly sized and placed bed, the exact number of pillows we like, our favorite comforter or two.
Instead, we find ourselves curling up at the end of a long day of exploration in a strange room with a rock-like pillow.
Let's just be honest here. There is no hostel, hotel or anything in-between that is just like home when it comes to sleep.
Being in a new place can completely throw off your sleep schedule, which is frustrating to even the most patient of people.
The good news? There are easy things you can do to make sure you are getting the best night of sleep possible so you are able to take advantage of all the things your new city has to offer.
1. Set the temperature.
Everyone has a preferred sleeping temperature, so make sure you are setting yourself up for success. Find that thermostat and adjust.
(Personally, I find 68 degrees Fahrenheit to be the right temperature, that way I can pile on the blankets and turn my bedroom into a pillow palace.)
2. Pick out your pillow.
There is nothing more irritating than tossing and turning in bed trying to figure out which pillow is the best one (especially when the options are unfamiliar).
Just take two minutes to lie down and test out the pillows at some point before you get in bed. Pick out your favorite and put it on your side.
3. Take a sleeping mask.
I love sleeping in pitch black darkness, and sometimes this isn't achievable while traveling.
The curtains are weird. There's a light on in the hallway. The clock is unusually bright. Slip on a silky mask and settle in.
4. Light a candle.
This one may seem a little strange, but I promise it is a game changer.
Pack a mini candle in your favorite scent from home and light that baby up about 10 minutes before you are ready to hop in bed. It's an instant cue for relaxation.
5. Take some deep breaths.
I'm a yogi, so forgive me this one thing, it's time for Shavasana (corpse pose).
Let your arms and legs relax and drop away from your body, close your eyes and take inventory of your body. Feeling any tension? Relax each muscle as you breathe. You may fall asleep right here.
Wondering if there are any don'ts? The answer is, of course, yes.
Over the years I've heard a lot of sleep advice (resident insomniac over here). Here's what I've found to be most helpful:
- Put your phone away at least 15 minutes before bed
- Stop reading the news, anything super interesting or anything upsetting an hour before bed
- Do not go for a run right before bed, it gives you more energy
Now, I'm not claiming to be inside your head, but I am telling you if you have trouble sleeping especially while traveling, these are all things that you should absolutely try.
There is nothing more soul-crushing than being in a new city but being too exhausted to explore. The goal is to have you fully rested so you can get your butt out there to participate in all the activities available to you.
Sightseeing? Check. Meeting new friends? Check. Trying new food? Check. Sleeping? Check.