Sleep can sometimes be elusive especially if you are moving around a lot or sleeping in different beds every couple of nights or even every night. A recent sleep study has found that your brain can remain on a special alert when you are in a new place or a new bed. Your brain remains on a subconscious alert for strange noises or subtle changes in light. You are therefore more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances when you are not in your own bed and home.
Also jet lag can be a major issue. And the change in your sleep patterns can depend on whether you are travelling East or West and if you are a night owl or you love to go to sleep early.
One of the main reasons many people go on vacation is to come back rested and restored, so the last thing you want is to come back exhausted and sleep deprived. But there are lots of things you can do to ensure you get a good nights rest.
I am constantly travelling and on the move looking at our new villas around the world. I will be travelling to Costa Rica to look at new properties for our villa rental company Exceptional Villas and here are some of the things I will do and my top travel tips!
- When booking a hotel, ask for a quiet room. Top floors tend to be quieter and also ask for a room away from the lifts or elevators.
- Make sure you put the do not disturb sign on the door. There is nothing worse than being woken up by a very enthusiastic housekeeper wanting to clean your room!
- If you are staying in a villa, ask your travel expert if there is any noise in the area from traffic or construction. If they are doing their job right, they will know these things.
- Sometimes its impossible to avoid noise especially when you are staying in a busy city such as New York or Hong Kong. So bring earplugs for times like this.
- If you are sensitive to light, ask for a room with blackout blinds. But again many villas and hotels do not have them so for times like this bring a soft and comfortable sleep mask.
- Some hotels and villas provide white noise machines which help regulate the sounds, but you can also download an app to do something similar.
- If you are travelling to the tropics, you will experience what I call nature noise. The sounds of tree frogs at night and hummingbirds in the morning are very common. Take a leaf out of the Dalai lamas book and don’t fight it and rather let it soothe you to sleep!
- Likewise, some air-conditioning units can be quite noisy! But it is a constant noise and will only irritate you if you let it.
- If like me and are a bit of a Princess and the Pea type of girl, then bring your own pillow! There is nothing like having your own lovely fluffy pillow to rest your head and neck on!
- It goes without saying, avoid checking your emails, Instagram accounts and facebook just before bed! And especially avoid the next episode of Ozark or Breaking Bad! Trust me, I know from experience they don’t help.
- Instead get a good old fashioned paperback. There is nothing like a couple of pages of reading to put you to sleep quickly.
- Write down your to-do list or anything on your mind an hour or two before bed. It works as a sort of download out of your brain and onto paper!
- As an avid follower of Buddhism and their mindfulness and meditation techniques, I highly recommend some meditation before bedtime. The simplest way is to sit
somewhere quiet and bring your mind away from life’s distractions and instead concentrate you your breath in and out.
- If you are travelling long haul and have more than a couple of time zones to cross, then there are some tried and tested tips to help you sleep and adapt quickly. Firstly, the minute you step on the plane, put all your devises (phone, tablet, laptop, watch) onto the new time zone.
- Take a nap on the plane. The longer, the better.
- When you arrive at your new destination, take some exercise. At least half an hour of vigorous exercise makes a big difference.
- If you don’t fancy some exercise, get out in the sunshine for as long as possible.
- Drink lots of water during the day but stop drinking by 6pm. The last thing you want is to have unnecessary trips to the loo during the night!
- Avoid alcohol if you possibly can! And definitely avoid caffeine.
- Check the temperature of the room. The recommended room temperature for sleeping is between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit. But it is also important to know your own body. I personally need the room to be at least 69 or 70 degrees to sleep well as I feel the cold.
- Last but not least relax and don’t stress it and definitely don’t look at the clock. There is nothing that will disturb your sleep more than worrying about not getting enough sleep.
Alexandra Baradi is the owner and CEO of Exceptional Villas who are one of the worlds most trusted villa vacation rental companies. The only feature personally inspected and 100 per cent vetted villas. Their top markets include Barbados, Turks and Caicos, St Barts, Cayman Islands, Antigua, Italy and Greece.