The holidays are a time to relax, reflect, recharge and reconnect. And even though “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” for many of us, reconnecting with loved ones means traveling far away.
Whether you’re planning a family vacation or spending the holidays at your in-laws, if you’re planning on traveling in December, you’re probably bracing yourself for a lovely but exhausting celebration. Emphasis on exhausting.
Because while your belly and your heart may be full during your holiday travels, your sleep bank might feel like it’s dwindling to absolute zero. Traveling for the holidays definitely comes with some sleep challenges, but Naturepedic can help. Read on for our complete guide on how to sleep better while traveling.
Why Is it So Hard to Sleep When Traveling?
Let’s face it: as relaxing as we hope for our vacations to be, most of us just don’t sleep well when traveling for the holidays … which is tough, because sleep is a necessity for any enjoyable trip!
So why exactly is it so hard to get shut-eye away from home? There are lots of factors that can contribute to travel insomnia, most relating in one way or another to changes in your usual habits and routine. This can include things like:
- Travel stress/anxiety
- Time zone changes/jet lag
- Unfamiliar bed/bedding
- Lights/noises/temperature different from home
- Vacation diet/exercise changes
Not to mention the simple fact that holiday vacations are usually pretty busy! You’re up late watching a seasonal movie with the fam, you’re up early helping to cook brunch, there’s hardly time for napping with you’ve got plans all day … who’s got time to sleep on vacation?
3 Sleep Tips for How to Sleep Better When Traveling
Never fear! Your holiday vacation doesn’t have to be doomed to a fate of sleepless nights and exhausted days. While you probably won’t sleep perfectly during your travels, there are some steps you can take to get the best sleep possible while away from the comfort of your own bed.
1. Planning Ahead = Less Stress
Travel anxiety can lead to worsened sleep leading up to your trip and poor sleep during your travels. If you want to sleep better, the best way to reduce stress is to plan ahead. Make a packing list and get it done in advance, plan travel routes and stops before you leave, make dinner reservations and book event tickets. The more you can get done in advance, the better you’ll sleep at night!
2. Sleep Whenever, Wherever
While regular napping doesn’t replace consistent, quality sleep, when you’re in a pinch on vacation it just might do the trick! If you’re feeling sleep deprived, feel free to get your 40 winks whenever, wherever you can. Whether it be sleeping between driving shifts on your road trip, dozing off on the couch during the football game, snoozing on the beach, there are opportunities for power naps on any type of trip.
3. Be Mindful of Unhealthy Vacation Habits
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a such thing as having too much fun … and when it happens, your sleep schedule can seriously suffer. When we’re away from home, the healthy habits we try to keep in our routines tend to fall by the wayside. You might eat bigger, unhealthier meals than usual, celebrate with alcoholic beverages, skip out on your daily workout … we’ve all been there.
It’s natural to want to splurge during a vacation, and you deserve to! But you also deserve to take care of yourself, and your body, mind and sleep schedule all benefit from adhering to a reasonable extent, to some of your healthy habits. Everything in moderation.
How to Help Kids Sleep Better on the Road
Traveling with little ones can be tough in the sleep department. Not only are they more sensitive to changes in sleep routines than adults are … they rely on regular sleep more than we do, too!
You should plan to arrive at your destination before your tiny tots’ regular bedtime to start your holiday travel on the right foot. Getting a good night’s sleep that first night is essential. If your little ones have a bedtime routine at home, try to recreate it while away! Reading their favorite book and snuggling up in their jammies will help them fall asleep that first night in a new place.
And don’t be afraid to squeeze in naps … whenever, wherever you can. In the car, in the stroller, on the plane, at the beach. While it’s better at home to keep naptime to the bedroom, when you’re on vacation, sleep is sleep. Get more kids’ holiday sleep tips here.
Sleep Tips for Your Pets
Bringing Fido along on your holiday travels? Switching up your pet’s routine can cause restlessness, potty accidents and hyperactivity in even the most well-behaved fur babies … and you don’t want your pet making a mess of your hotel room (or even worse, your mother-in-law’s house!).
Make sure your pet gets ample stimulation the day before your journey. Playing with your kitty, taking your dog on a long walk or using mentally stimulating toys like puzzle feeders and topples to tire them out will ensure that they get some shut eye on your road trip.
If your dog is crate trained, it’s a good idea to bring their crate along with you as well as blankets, toys or a bed from home to provide them with comfort in their new environment. If you’re traveling with a cat, make sure they have a designated area just for them to avoid overstimulation – a bedroom with their food, water, toys, litter and a door to keep shut.
Hosting Guests? Here's How to Help Them Sleep
If you’re hosting the holiday festivities instead of traveling, count yourself lucky! Of course, hosting guests comes with lots of stresses … but at least you get to sleep in your own bed at the end of the day. If you want to go above and beyond to make your guests comfortable during their visit, step one is to hone their sleeping environment!
The most important thing to keep in mind is making your guests’ space as customizable as possible for them. Their room might not have an independently controlled climate system, but you can offer a fan and extra blankets so that they can cozy up at their ideal temperature. Make sure they have blinds or curtains to block out any light, and offering a sound machine can help to drown out any noises they aren’t used to. If you want to go the whole nine yards, including some sleep-aiding lavender and melatonin on their bedside table is a beautiful touch.
Of course, the best way to ensure your overnight guests are comfortable is with quality, comfortable bedding. And when it comes to comfort, you just can’t beat soft, breathable, certified organic mattresses, bedding and sleep accessories. Let Naturepedic help you help your loved ones sleep better this holiday – and yourself, too, while you’re at it!