98.6 million Americans will be traveling for the holidays this year, and no matter how far or how long the duration, they all have one thing in common – no one likes sleeping away from home.
We’re often relegated to sinking air mattresses, creaky sofa beds (if not just the couch itself) and rumpled sleeping bags on the floor. A recent survey found that 52 percent of Americans invented excuses to give relatives in order to avoid sleeping over.
All hope is not lost! We’ve put together some easy tips to get a good night’s rest during these wonderful and trying times.
Stock up on sleep now
Sleep disruptions over the holidays may be unavoidable, but you can soften the blow by storing up sleep before you travel. It’s called “sleep banking” and it’s basically pre-gaming for your pending sleep deprivation. It allows you to deal with the lack of sleep better and reduce the anxiety around it.
Strengthen your core
Getting as strong as possible before you travel will help you prep for the inevitable neck kinks and back spasms from sleeping on your aunt’s dreaded sleeper sofa. Planks are a great way to strengthen your core and stabilizers before you get there. Once there, one of the best stretches to do as soon as you wake up, before you feel any aches or pains, is cat/cow stretch as it loosens everything up and wakes the body up.
Everyone’s pillows are slightly different in terms of firmness, height, and composition. There’s no science involved here, it’s just a personal preference, but it’s one that can ruin your sleep if not addressed. That’s why bringing your own pillow is highly recommended both for catching Zzzs while in transit, and for when you reach your destination.
One of the stressors of sleeping in a foreign place is that we lack control of our environment. At home, we can set ourselves up for a good night’s sleep by following an evening routine that allows for optimal sleep conditions, but when traveling we find ourselves at the mercy of our hosts’ environment. A sleep mask, ear plugs and a white noise machine are three great ways to take back control of your sleep. Noise and light control are key to achieving the relaxation necessary to make the transition into non-REM sleep at the beginning of the night.