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How To Get More Sleep When Traveling – Sleep Tips For Travel

What professional travelers say you need for a good night’s sleep. Are you missing anything?

Getting enough sleep is never an easy task. Between work life, social activities, and various other obligations, sleep always seems to be what we cut back on to make room for other things.

It gets even worse when you’re traveling. Factor in long flights and navigating unfamiliar cities, not to mention jet lag, and staying well-rested while traveling can be incredibly difficult. Which is a real problem when you want to make the most of your vacation.

In her bestselling book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, Arianna Huffington takes an in depth look at how sleep deprivation has become the norm in today’s society. After outlining the negative side effects of continued sleep deprivation – including irritability, weight gain, and lack of focus throughout the day – she offers some ways people can be more mindful about getting enough rest.

getting sleep while traveling

Huffington says there are daily changes a person can make to their sleeping habits to get better and more sleep each night: keep your electronics away from your bed, no caffeine after 2:00 p.m., read physical books or e-readers that don’t emit blue light, and several others. All of these tips are easy enough to implement in your home, but what about when you’re on the road?

Huffington’s got you covered there, too. In interviews with Condé Nast and Travel Age West, she shared her secrets for staying well rested without the comfort and control of your own bedroom.

Make sure to pack your sleep essentials!

A large part of Huffington’s sleep theory is about creating a calm and relaxing environment for sleep. This is a lot easier said than done, especially when you may be on a plane with a less than cheerful baby or are sharing the row with a loud snorer. For these situations, Huffington recommends a sleep essentials kit. She says she never travels without it, and it’s filled with basic items to help you get restful sleep while in transit:

  1. A high-quality eye mask – The body is wired to sleep in darkness, so having a good eye mask to block out light is essential.
  2. Noise canceling headphones and/or earplugs – Having a quiet environment is extremely important for falling asleep and having continual restful sleep. If you’ve never tried noise-cancelling headphones, they are literally a game-changer. You’ll be amazed at how calm and quiet a noisy airplane can become with some great headphones. They are definitely an investment, though; so if you can’t afford noise-cancelling headphones, try using earplugs instead.
  3. Herbal teas (especially chamomile and lavender) – Herbal teas are a great way to relax the body and calm the mind for sleep. Huffington suggests teas that include chamomile and lavender which have natural soothing qualities.
  4. A comfy neck pillow – Even in total darkness and silence, if your neck isn’t comfortably supported, good sleep will be difficult. It is totally worth it to invest in a quality neck pillow if you do a lot of traveling. You’ll be surprised how much more rested you’ll feel sleeping on a neck pillow instead of craning your neck on one side of a headrest.

These four travel essentials are compact and easy to add to any carry-on. They take up hardly any space and will help you have a more restful travel experience.

Schedule time to recharge

So you made it through the flight with a few solid hours of shut-eye thanks to your eye mask and neck pillow. You’re feeling excited to start your vacation and want to hit the ground running. Huffington would advise against it.

She’s discovered it’s critical to schedule time for rest directly following your arrival at your travel destination. As we all know, even the best laid plans can be thwarted. Maybe those three hours of sleep you were planning to get on the plane never happened due to turbulence or a chatty aisle companion. That’s why Huffington suggests scheduling in time to go to your hotel to nap or rest. At the very least, go to your hotel and take a shower. Whether you feel tired or not, traveling is stressful for the body. Taking the time to recharge with a quick nap or steamy shower will help you focus on the next task at hand. Whether it’s a business meeting or hitting up the hotel lobby for a welcome cocktail, you’ll be happy you took the time to recharge in your room.

Making your hotel room sleep-friendly

According to Huffington, hotels are starting to realize that people place a lot of value in their sleeping experience while away from home. For a lot of sleep-conscious travelers, it’s not enough anymore to be on a higher floor and far from the elevator. Some hotels are addressing these higher standards by installing air filtration systems and hanging light-cancelling curtains. If finding a sleep-friendly hotel is important to you, be sure to ask your travel agent which hotels can accommodate. They will know which hotels go the extra mile to make their rooms as sleep-friendly as possible.

Even if your hotel doesn’t boast an emphasis on quality sleep environments, there are simple things you can adjust in your hotel room to help you get more restful sleep. Much like the modifications she suggests for your bedroom, it’s easy to convert a standard hotel room into a more sleep-friendly environment.

First of all, Huffington advises to adjust the thermostat to a cooler temperature. Having a cooler room allows your body to relax and not overheat during the night.

Another important tip Huffington recommends is keeping your electronics off your bedside table. She recommends charging your electronics in the bathroom. That way you make a conscious decision to put them away before bed and there are no bothersome blinking lights throughout the night that may affect your sleep.

For the other random lights throughout the room, like the clock, maybe the TV or cable box, Huffington brings along stickers to black out all the little lights in the room. If you forget to bring stickers (because let’s be honest, that’s probably not high on the packing list), cover the lights with a sweatshirt or a towel from the bathroom.

All of these easy modifications can turn any hotel room into a more sleep-friendly environment. The worst side effect of sleep deprivation is its ability to steal your joy. On a vacation, you should be able to have the time of your life. No one wants to miss out on a beach day or an excursion because they’re too tired. So rather than missing out or pounding caffeine all day, try these techniques to get the most out of your nighttime Z’s so you can get the most out of your vacation.

Bonus TipHuffington also swears by using a travel agent. She told Condé Nast that she always uses a travel agent because her agent knows exactly what she likes and needs in her travel booking and accommodations. What better way to sleep easy than to let a professional take care of all the stress-inducing details for you!

That is exactly the kind of personalized care and attention you’ll find with all the agents at Each one of our travel agents is ready and willing to help you find the most sleep-friendly hotel for your vacation. Use the tool below to find a travel agent to plan your vacation so you have one less thing to worry about when you go to bed.