Traveling for short-periods of time can often ruin our sleep schedules. Whether it be for business, a wedding, research, etc. travelling distant places for short periods of time can have detrimental effects to the way we sleep, and therefore how our bodies function during a given day. So what can you do to ensure that your mini weekend trips won’t hinder your overall sleep patterns?
First off, there’s something in the business world known as the “two-day rule” which basically states if you are expecting to be away from home for less than 48 hours total, stick to your normal nightly routine. Even if you’re going somewhere with a different time zone, your body will typically take two full days to adjust and change its schedule to a seemingly “normal” level, so if you just go about your evenings as per usual, and in sync with your native time zone, your body will have less of a struggle adjusting once you return home.
So if you can, try to ask for accommodations in whatever obligations you have at your destination so that you can be back in bed at the same time you normally are. When you keep both your physical and mental state in tune with its regular habits, you’ won’t have as much of a need to adjust your sleep schedule when away for short periods of time.
Make sure you’re packing all of your sleep necessities. Nothing causes more unnecessary stress than when you’re getting ready for bed only to realize that you forgot your toothbrush and face wash at home. Before you go on any sort of trip, it’s necessary to make a checklist of all the things that you need to bring with you. This especially includes all toiletry items that have become staples in your morning and night routines.
Recreating your sleep environment from home in a hotel room can be extremely tricky, however, having all the necessary elements there will make it a lot easier. In addition to your normal face washing, teeth brushing, and whatever else you do during your routine, add in some extra flare to make yourself especially comfortable. Apply a face mask, throw on a “chill vibes” playlist from Spotify or Youtube, and order some dessert.
Another way to create a more positive and relaxed sleep setting for yourself is to avoid any and all screens an hour before going to bed. This is especially important if your short trip is business related. Close out of your emails, silence your texts, and draw yourself a bath. The blue light that’s emitted from all screens has been proven to have negative effects on how easily we are able to fall asleep, and how long we stay asleep.
On the opposite end, certain apps on your phone can actually help aid sleep, but don’t require you to stare at the screen in order to do so. Apps like Headspace and Calm are literally designed to offer guided meditations and peaceful tunes to send you into a peaceful slumber.
Finally, do some preliminary work before you leave home in the first place. The night before your travels, make sure you’re getting a full eight hours of sleep and eating a healthy breakfast in the morning when you wake up. Avoid caffeine for as long as you can, while it may feel great in the moment, as most of us know it can cause us to lag in the middle of the day, so wait until you’ve eaten and had at least one cup of water first.
By sticking to a schedule, maintaining healthy night time and morning habits, and listening to your body’s needs, you’ll be able to travel around for as long as you need and as often as you need without any of the additional stresses of readjusting once your home.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.