If you’re a frequent overseas traveler, then there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced jet lag, which is a common sleep disorder caused by traveling between different time zones. To cope with jet lag, most people choose to take sleeping pills while on a long distance flight, hoping to wake up refreshed once they reach their destination. However, there have been reported instances of travelers experiencing parasomnia or other odd sleep behavior, such as sleep walking, while using sleep aids during long flights.
If you want to avoid a sleepless overnight flight and be well rested while you’re on holiday, know that there are other things that you can do instead of taking a pill. Here are some smart ways to get better sleep while traveling.
Adjust your sleeping schedule to match your destination
To limit the effects of jet lag, try adjusting your sleeping schedule to match your destination. At least one week before your trip, try to sleep earlier or a little later, depending on the location, and soon you’ll find yourself adapting to your destination’s time zone. Once you arrive, make adjustments so that you can continue to adapt to the schedule of the destination. This means staying awake during the day and having your meals during local mealtimes.
Plan on getting some sleep during your flight
Traveling for work or leisure involves a lot of planning, and apart from booking hotel rooms, bringing the essentials, and scheduling stops at places of interest, it’s also important to keep yourself healthy while you’re away. Getting the necessary vaccines, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep should be a priority to stay well during your trip.
To ensure that you get some shut eye on your flight, plan ahead and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages eight hours before your flight. You may also want to sleep less the night before your flight so you can catch up on some zzzs later on inside the plane.
Also, consider packing some noise canceling headphones in your carry on, a warm shawl, a travel pillow, thick socks, and an eye mask so you can block out the noise and light in the cabin and stay comfy and cozy while getting some sleep.
Limit the alcoholic beverages before bedtime
Many people believe that drinking alcohol can help them to get better sleep while they’re traveling. But while alcohol can cause drowsiness and help you fall asleep faster, it can also diminish sleep quality as you’ll find yourself waking during odd hours, or you may not be able to sleep deeply at all. Limit the alcoholic beverages before bedtime, or skip it altogether and have a cup of warm milk or Valerian tea instead. These drinks can help to calm your nerves and help you sleep at night.
Don’t let sleep issues spoil your travels. Try these tips to get better sleep while you’re traveling so you can be energized for your holiday, and have an enjoyable time while you're away from home.
Traveling with Your CPAP
One of the most common questions we get asked here at The Alaska Sleep Clinic is "how can I travel with my CPAP machine?" Many of our patients travel frequently to the "lower 48" for vacations and to visit family, and quite a few of our residents have "slope" jobs which require them to be away from home for long periods of time between R&R breaks.
Living with sleep apnea can be difficult enough without all of the extra hassles associated with travel. Many patients find having to use a CPAP machine every night at home challenging enough (at least initially), and the idea of having to travel with their machine almost too much to bear.
However, you shouldn't let the idea of traveling with your machine get you down. And you definitely shouldn't leave your machine at home, even for short trips. What many people may not realize is that traveling with a CPAP machine is much easier than previously thought.
You shouldn't let travel get in the way of your therapy. Today it is just as almost as easy to travel with a CPAP machine as it is to travel without it. Don't leave your machine at home and allow yourself to suffer at nights. 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're needing 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.