Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, there’s no need to sacrifice sleep just because you’re away from home.
In fact, so many people have trouble sleeping whilst travelling, that an entire industry of sleep-friendly accessories has cropped up to help people get some much-needed Zzzs. If you fancy a bit more shut-eye during your travels, here are five useful items worth packing.
Everyone has a unique set of conditions that makes up their ideal sleeping environment. For many of us, darkness is key. If you prefer to sleep in the pitch black, an eye mask is a must-pack accessory. Aisle lights on the airplane keeping you awake? Simply strap the mask over your eyes for instant darkness.
Although many airlines hand out eye masks to passengers on long-haul flights, it’s worth buying your own mask to have at the ready whenever you might need it. Masks even come with added features like lavender scent or extra comfort straps, so you can find one that helps you feel relaxed and ready to sleep.
White noise apps
With maps, GPS, flight-booking apps and video-chatting software, smartphones have quickly become the modern jet setter’s best friend. Adding to this list of travel-friendly tools are white noise apps, which you can download from your phone’s app store.
Apps like ‘Sleep Pillow Sounds’ and ‘Custom Sounds of Nature’ allow you to choose from a range of peaceful sounds or even create your own custom soundscape to doze off to. Whether it’s soothing ocean waves, the pitter-patter of raindrops or fuzzy, ambient noise, you can choose the background sounds that work best for you.
It’s an often overlooked travel accessory, but perhaps the most effective sleep tool of all – earplugs may be the missing puzzle piece to your perfect night’s sleep. Reusable foam earplugs mould to the inside of your ear and block out pesky noises that could distract you from your sleep. About the size of a matchbox, boxes of earplugs take up barely any space in your carry-on and have the potential to make a huge difference.
Struggling to sleep whilst travelling is often a psychological issue more than it is a practical one. You could have the comfiest bed in the quietest, most peaceful village B&B on earth and still find it difficult to get to sleep. Why? Simply because you’re in a new environment.
Sleep spray—such as the deep sleep pillow spray from thisworks—is a surprisingly effective way to quiet the mind and settle into a peaceful sleep. Infused with essential oils known for their calming effect (i.e. lavender and chamomile), sleep sprays have an increasingly loyal following.
Stuck in the middle seat? Not to worry. Inflatable, U-shaped neck pillows are designed to help you get some sleep even if you don’t manage to get the coveted window seat.
Perhaps even more effective, the revolutionary ‘J Pillow’, invented by a former flight attendant, supports both sides of your head, as well as your neck and chin. It’s designed to catch your head as it lowers down in the early stages of sleep so that you don’t suddenly jerk awake.
Of course, in addition to practical and psychological sleep inhibitors, there’s another major factor at play: jet lag. There’s only so much you can do to combat the grogginess caused by switching time zones, but most experts agree that being active during the day, staying hydrated and limiting sleep distractions (e.g. light and noise) will help.
Remember that sleep problems are totally normal side effect of travelling, and feeling anxious about your lack of sleep may only make things worse. Instead, make use of the accessories above and speak to your doctor if your insomnia becomes a serious issue.
What are your tips to get a good night’s sleep on holiday?