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How to Sleep Better After Traveling

For some people, traveling can affect their sleep in a few aspects. If prolonged, it can cause poor sleep quality and harm physical, mental, and emotional health. And instead of enjoying your travel and holiday, you will experience travel fatigue and jet lag that will decrease your energy level, slow your thinking, cause irritability, and feel tired during the day. 

While jet lag is a common thing that you will get when you travel to an area with a massive time difference, travel fatigue can be experienced even if you don’t travel long distances. Travel fatigue has symptoms including exhaustion and headaches that can happen as a result of the physical effort needed for travel. Cool, dry, and low-pressure air on airplane cabins is the reason why you tend to get dehydrated, bloated, and experience respiratory problems. Some people also experience difficulty resting or sleeping while sitting upright, and long-term sitting can cause leg swelling.

Travel fatigue goes away after a good night’s sleep but jet lag can persist for several days until your body clock realigned with the local time where you stay. In jet lag conditions, your body’s circadian rhythm is having disruption that affects how and when your body produces hormones. When you experience jet lag, you may experience symptoms like sleeping problems, daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, stomach problems, and some other discomforts that generally could last up to 1,5 days or even weeks. 

After traveling long distances, you can have both jet lag and travel fatigue at the same time. Here are some tips to help you get a night of better sleep after traveling to minimize and prevent the effect of travel fatigue and jet lag.

 

  1. Dealing with jet lag

    Melatonin supplements and exposure to natural light are known to reduce jet lag. Hopkinsmedicine website said that taking melatonin supplements helps your body to produce melatonin hormones thus preparing your body to rest. It is suggested to have melatonin supplements two hours before bedtime. Melatonin is not a cure for jet lag but daylight exposure is effective to help your body clock back to normal. If jet lag prolongs, you can consult your doctor to help overcome the discomfort.

  2. Go along with the local time

    Charlene Gamaldo, the medical director of the John Hopkins Center for Sleep suggested synchronizing with local time flow. Do your best to stay awake on the plane and sleep at your destination if you’re going to be landing at night. And if you’re going to be landing at noon, it is best to sleep as much as you can on the plane.

  3. Do exercise

    Gamaldo also suggests doing exercises to reduce the discomfort of traveling. Taking a warm shower and going outside will send signals to your body that it is time to start your day. These actions will increase your body temperature which can trigger your body’s circadian rhythm.

  4. Try to limit or avoid these drinks

    Alcohol and caffeinated beverages can reduce the quality of your sleep after traveling. If you want to or have to consume it, try to do it in small quantities and at least a few hours before bedtime. Drinking coffee and tea moderately is safe in the morning, but it is best to avoid caffeine six hours before you sleep to prevent sleep deprivation. Carbonated drinks should also be avoided or limited due to the changes in air pressure during the flight that can lead to abdominal bloating.

  5. Create your travel sleep kit

    Forbes website stated that, If you are someone who doesn’t fall asleep easily or someone who travels frequently, try to build your travel sleep kit. Your nighttime essentials such as an eye mask, ear plugs, and your favorite items will be helpful to overcome your sleep problems.

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