Getting a single good night sleep is elusive for many of us. Now imagine throwing in jetlag after you’ve just landed from a long flight. It’s such an inconvenience to have your sleeping patterns thrown off when you’re in a new city and all you want to do is explore, but you can barely keep your eyes open long enough to absorb the energy around you.
Sure, you could try binging on coffee, but sadly coffee will only physically—not mentally—wake you up, while also potentially making it even harder for you to fall asleep at night, thus worsening your sleeping patterns.
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Just like building consistent exercise and eating habits in your everyday life generally helps you transition those habits to your vacation more easily, building healthy sleep patterns in your regular life will help you transition more smoothly into your travel lifestyle.
I recently spent 10 days in Tel Aviv, Israel, a 7-hour time difference from Toronto, which required almost a 24-hour journey, on an overnight flight, to get there. It took a consistent schedule and a lot of willpower to get myself out a walking zombie phase and adjusted to the time difference. Here are a few ways that I was able to effectively maintain my sleep schedule outside of my everyday lifestyle.
3 Ways to Get a Good Night Sleep When Traveling
Use an App Like Fabulous
Fabulous is a great way to keep on top of your sleep and wake up times. If you use the app in your everyday life, you’ll already have input your daily rituals. If you wake up at 7am at home, wake up at 7am on vacation. Lastly, If you drink a cold glass of water as soon as you wake up, do the same thing on vacation.
It’s important to keep your habits as consistent as possible, and I found that having them all recorded in the app helped to keep me on track a lot more effectively than I would have without. My phone automatically adjusted to the time in Israel, so I was notified of my morning rituals at the same time that I would have been at home. After a couple of days, I was able to naturally wake up by 8:30am and go through morning routine as if I were back home.
Force yourself to stay awake
Yes, we get it—it’s easy to show how to get a good night sleep, and then your eyelids become heavy and you find yourself falling asleep in your dinner plate. And depending on the time difference you’re experiencing, it may take you a couple days to progressively adjust to a new schedule.
We know it can be hard, but try not to take naps during the day. Allowing yourself to sleep because back home it’s 2am is going to prevent you from adjusting to the new time and ultimately prevent you from properly enjoying your vacation.
Schedule early-morning activities
Money is the best motivator. When you’ve spent money on a tour or a spa treatment, for example, you’re more likely to force yourself to roll out of bed despite the exhaustion—even if you didn’t get to sleep until 6am the night before.
Be realistic though, and don’t overexert yourself—so don’t book a 7am tour if you have a 9pm dinner reservation the next night.