Alaska Sleep Education Center

Sleeping Well On Spring Break

Posted by Stefanie Leiter

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on Mar 10, 2020 2:00:00 PM

In 2017, more than $2.8 billion dollars a day was spent on travel: $32,800 a second. U.S. residents for the year took 1.8 billion trips. It is guaranteed that when summer traveling, you will support one of the 15.2 million American jobs that support the tourism industry.

Sleeping in cramped quarters can be tricky either with a friend, spouse, or a family of four. It gets even trickier with extra costs for larger families and more complex overnight in a tent.

So how can you travel the American roads this summer or travel internationally and enjoy restful nights? There is not one simple answer that works for every person or situation. But, here we have ways to make travel easier with tips that apply no matter the experience you’re seeking this Summer.

Airplane Travel

air travel

  • Drink water, not coffee. By staying hydrated during your flight, the circulation to tired legs and restless bodies will help provide a restful nap. Tip: coffee dehydrates you during travel but can help perk you up when arriving at your destination.
  • Bring a travel pillow and blanket. Especially for international flights, pack a small pillow and blanket to make the flight more comfortable. Tip: airline pillows are sold at airports but are less expensive prior to traveling. Buy a blanket at a discount store.
  • Eye masks. If you are not normally an eye mask sleeper consider it for a flight. It will block out unwanted cabin lights. Tip: an eye mask signals to fellow travelers and the flight attendant you do not want to be bothered.
  • Ear plugs or earbuds. While both eliminate distractions, one may be favorable to you over the other. Ear plugs give complete noise free sleep while others need white noise or sound. Tip: even if the airline provides earbuds with airline channels, consider downloading music to your device. You may end up with faulty head jacks.

Alaska Airlines' CPAP Policy



  • Travel with white noise. Pack either a small fan, white noise machine or download an app on your cell phone. White noise will help drown out any unwanted noise in the parking lot or in the hallway. Tip: sleep at home with some white noise prior to travel.
  • Diffuse. If you normally have lavender aromas filling the bedroom, pack a travel diffuser. Tip: if you are an avid essentials oil consesuir, make certain to pack the small 3-ounce bottles, so they are TSA-friendly.
  • Pack a photo. For business travelers, it is nice to have a family or familiar photo travel with you. Tip: if you have young children, ask for some handmade art you can put on the bathroom mirror. Anything to remind you of home can help.
  • Do not disturb. Place this on your door when you arrive. This little sign will help save you from early housekeeping visits. Tip: leave a larger tip if you wait a few days for housekeeping services. Sometimes you may miss the boat on housekeeping with the sign out.


camping with the family

  • Mattresses and pads. Air mattresses can be blown-up without electrical outlets and pads can be purchased at different sizes and level of thickness. Hammocks are another option to avoid the need of a heavy pad since they can easily be carried and tied to two trees. Tip: keep in mind that whatever your choice pick an easy to carry option for your backpack or to carry to a campsite. If you have small kids, accessible campsites are a more viable option.
  • Sleeping bags. Depending on the climate and tent size, talk to a professional before purchasing a sleeping bag. You may need a warmer bag for some seasons or locations or a wider bag for car-camping. There are a lot of choices so do not get overwhelmed. Tip: consider what your child needs even if the climate varies. If you have a heavy sweater at night, bring a lightweight sleeping bag.
  • Netting. An important addition to a camping trip may require netting from mosquitos if you are traveling to a part of the world that may be prone to malaria. It can also help protect your sleeping area from flies, fleas, ticks, and other pesky insects. Tip: bring bug spray. If you plan to sleep in the great outdoors, do not count on netting to be the only answer. You will sleep better without any of the bites.
  • Bring accessories. If you need a CPAP, pack it. There are countless options for campers to travel with their sleep machine. Tip: purchase a CPAP with strong battery You do not need electricity with the right machine.

Small Kids

  • Eat on a schedule. The best way to cause a breakdown while traveling is being too busy to eat. Kids live on a schedule so do not break the mold while on vacation. Tip: if traveling in different time zones, have protein-rich snacks for travel days. Eat smaller more frequent meals to balance the time difference.
  • Build in napping. If you have toddlers and babies you plan to travel with, do not expect them to understand you are traveling. Build in their nap times. Planning a trip to Disney? Find a hotel near the bus or monorail line to lie down for a quick nap. Tip: bring your stroller. Some kids can adapt quickly to a fast-paced vacation if they do not have tired legs and can take a quick
  • Pack a book and a stuffed animal. Does your child have a favorite blanket or lovey? Pack them and keep them safe. Kids often are scared by strange environments so bring some comforts and scents from home. Tip: create a buddy bag for your child. They can join the fun by packing a small bag they have with them. This may be a favorite small toy, favorite book and favorite plush toy.

No matter your sleeping arrangements, do not let sleep apnea hinder your travel plans. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, you want to be at your best, and you're not going to get there if you're losing sleep.

If you need any additional information on traveling with a CPAP machine, or would like to purchase a travel specific CPAP machine, feel free to contact the Alaska Sleep Clinic.

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Topics: travel, losing sleep, summer

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