Sleeping on trains, planes cars and buses can be one of the most difficult parts of travelling. The combination of jet lag and sleep deprivation can truly hinder your travel experience. I consider myself very lucky because as a shift worker, I switch my sleeping schedule from days to nights every three weeks. I’ve also learned how to nap in impossible places during my breaks at the hospital if I’ve had an insane day. As an avid napper and traveller, here are my fail-proof sleeping tips to sleep literally, anywhere.
#1 DRESS COMFORTABLY
Ditch the high-fashion outfit for the plane, train or car ride. Not all of us are as lucky as say the Kardashians to have private travelling quarters where we can roll up in sweat pants and roll out in a skin-tight Prada number. My go-to travel outfit is leggings (or jeggings, if you have to go somewhere immediately on arrival), loose shirt, comfortable bra (boys, you can skip that step if you wish!), warm socks and comfortable shoes. I usually bring along a hoodie, cardigan or blanket scarf (these are the best inventions!!) to keep me warm.
#2 EYE MASK
I’ll be honest, I was never a believer in the eye mask until I moved out of my parents house and left my blackout curtains behind. I always thought they would be uncomfortable, but it’s really the opposite! It took me a few naps and sleeps to get accustomed but now if I’m sleeping when there’s light I always use one. Keeping things dark and deep breathing really help me slowly settle into a sleep even if my brain is running wild.
#3 EAR PLUGS OR EAR PHONES
An eye mask and ear plugs I feel go hand in hand. I never sleep for night shift or travel without them. Sleeping in transit while travelling can have so much commotion and noise. Whether it be the air stewardess with the beverage cart, the infant crying in the seat in front of you or even snoring in a hostel, a good pair of ear plugs cancels out all the noise providing a nice, quiet environment to sleep in. Another great alternative to ear plugs is ear phones. You will probably be less likely to lose headphones than ear plugs!
#4 SLEEP PLAYLIST
Meditation music is amazing to help slow down your brain and zen into sleep. You can find tons of great playlists on the internet or Spotify. One I use frequently is one from “Binural Beats Brainwave Entrainment” check it out by clicking here. I find I drift into incredibly deep sleeps with these songs and noises since they apparently influence your brain waves or whatever. Maybe it’s placebo, but it works.
#5 NECK PILLOW
I’m one of those people who loves to lean their head on something when they sleep. I also, embarrassingly, am one of those travellers whose mouth looks like a Venus Fly Trap when I’m fully passed out. Therefore, the magical neck pillow. I’m not a fan of the inflatable ones, no matter how much space it saves. I easily just clip my neck pillow to my backpack/carry on and prefer the nicer, squishy ones. They’re great to also have as a back up pillow if where you’re staying has awful (or questionably clean) pillows! If you’re a sleeping Venus Fly Trap like me, you can turn the pillow around so it clips in the back and it’ll keep that mouth mostly closed!
The last few trips I’ve done on planes have been overnight flights, since I find myself having less jet lag by attempting to sleep on the plane and arriving to my destination in day light and day time. One flight to the Caribbean, I was sitting beside my mom and a stranger. I watched this lady pull out a soft blanket, a neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs. And I have never seen someone look and sleep more comfortably on a plane. Some airlines give you pathetic excuses of blankets (nonetheless, they are indeed blankets though!) so now when I travel I actually use my microfibre travel towel as a warmer blanket and it saves space! My travel towel is by the brand Sun Lab (check it out on Amazon) and I find it surprisingly warm and so versatile.
#7 LAVENDER OIL
Now, I say lavender oil because lavender is supposed to help relax and promote sleep. However, if you hate how lavender oil smells there are other scents such as lemon, ylang ylang and jasmine that have been studied to help with relaxation which could help promote sleep. Now, I’m not an aromatherapy expert but I do notice after a night shift when I spray some lavender sheet spray on my pillow I sleep way more settled than days I don’t use the spray. If you’re extremely sensitive to scents (which be aware there are several individuals with scent allergies) last year I discovered Monq aromatherapy pens. These pens are actually amazing. It’s inhaled aromatherapy meaning that it is essential oils mixed with water that are a vapor. Check out the Monq website for more information here. My personal favorite Monq pens are Happy, Sleepy and Zen.
#8 FOLLOW YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE
Our bodies love routines, so if you treat your body as if you’re going to bed theoretically you should be way more likely to relax and drift to sleep. This is why I highly recommend overnight flights to arrive to your destination in the day light. But alas, that is not always possible. If you shower before bed, shower before the airport. If you’re a girl, try and wear minimal make up. If you do a face mask before bed, bring a face mask on the plane. If you read, bring a book and relax into a chapter. Brush your teeth, put on some snuggly warm socks and get into your bed-time groove.
Although these tips don’t guarantee that you’ll sleep, I believe they will definitely help in making your sleeping-in-transit way more comfortable! What are your tips for sleeping while travelling?