People who travel are often referred to as ‘living the dream’. Why is it then, that the dreams they have at night aren’t always the sweetest?!
Well, being on the road is tough at times. Moving from place to place, from hotel to guesthouse to hostel (depending on your budget) can be exhausting. The kind of exhausting that leaves you irritable, ratty and jaded – but unfortunately, not always the kind of exhausting that guarantees you a good night’s sleep.
Luckily, you don’t need to spend a fortune on plush hotel beds to sleep properly on the road. Use my easy hacks to getting a decent sleep and the world will look a whole lot better come morning.
- Go back to basics
First of all, lose the phone and the laptop. Not literally, of course, that’d be terrible travel advice! But staring at all that blue light before bedtime is definitely the wrong way to get to la-la land. It can delay the release of melatonin (which help you sleep), increase alertness (once you start stressing about getting back to that email) and reset your internal clock. You may end up so used to watching movies or stalking exes on Facebook until 1am that the mere thought of being asleep by 11pm is inconceivable.
What if you just tried the simple way of life again? Switch off your devices half an hour before you go to sleep and read a book or write in your journal instead. If meditation’s your bag, that’s a great way to relax your body and mind before bed, too.
Make sure you’ve gotten some fresh air that day, go for a massage in the evening if your budget allows it (anywhere in SE Asia, it will) and relax yourself the old-fashioned way before you settle down for the night.
- Remember to accessorize
When traveling, a sleep mask and earplugs should become your new best friends and an essential part of your travel kit. This doesn’t make you an old fogey – it simply makes you a sane human being. It’s a cheap and effective way to get a good sleep, wherever your travels take you.
I’m all about embracing the great outdoors; for me though, there’s a time and a place for it. And that is firmly in the daytime, when I can see what’s going on around me. Maybe you’re one of those people for whom creepy rooftop scratches and strange howls are a prelude to slumber. More power to you. Bear Grylls ain’t got nothin’ on you.
For me, I prefer to shut the insecurities out by blocking my ears and pretending whatever’s creeping around my room/outside my tent is like Donald Trump – not really there.
And then there’s the other animalistic environment – the hostel.
Why should you lie gritting your teeth in a dorm room heaving with snores or the stage whispers of late-nighters stumbling in? Or to be awoken at 4am by the harsh torchlight of someone preparing to go on a sunrise trek?
Traveling throws a lot of unexpected twists your way – some great, some not-so-great – and you need to be on form for when it does. Having a good night’s sleep goes a long way to helping you be more of a sunny optimist and less of a Negative Nancy about the whole thing. If that means looking like a weirdo in your oversized mask and earplugs, so be it.
- Nap when you can
When did we stop napping? As toddlers, we understood the importance of a midday nap. As college students, we drew on power naps to get us through exams – or even to face another night out.
But somewhere in the transition to becoming a proper grown-up, we lost our way. Now we think that a half-decent night’s sleep is enough to sate us in our busy lives. Not so when you’re working a hectic nine-to-fiver and especially not so when you’re traveling around the world, with an already messed-up sleeping schedule.
You need to nap when you can.
So whether you decide to catch some zs under a sunlounger at the beach or end up in a pile of drool while getting a massage (we’ve all been there), never forget the rejuvenating power of a nap.
This is especially important if you’re getting lots of forms of transport. Sure, trains, planes and boats are exciting – but they also present some serious napping opportunities. Get on board, get comfy and nap ‘til your heart’s content.
You’ll arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready, pretty much like you’ve had a great night’s sleep.
So there you have it – my top 3, budget-friendly ways to getting a proper sleep while traveling. For more info on how to get a great night’s sleep, at home and abroad, check out these guys. Sweet dreams! 🙂