How Traveling Affects Sleep Schedules

by Mar 3, 2023Uncategorized

Mar 3, 2023

Some of us do it for work, some do it for fun. Whatever the case may be, traveling is a common occurrence for millions of Americans. Something that can prove to be difficult is maintaining a good sleep schedule while traveling. We will provide you with some tips so you aren’t completely worn out the next time you travel. 

The average American spends time thinking of that one summer vacation they want to pursue. Typically this will occur one time a year, if not more. Some people enjoy taking leisure trips. When choosing what flight or route to take, many prefer to not be bombarded by others. This means when booking a flight, many will look for that 5 a.m. flight so they don’t have to worry about being late. 

So for instance let’s say you’ve booked that 5 a.m. flight. Most arrive at the airport 2-3 hours in advance so in this case you’re waking up around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Of course, this is most likely different from your typical morning routine. So in this case the circadian rhythm is thrown off because you are conscious much earlier than usual, so your body must adjust. Usually, this means that you’re likely going to go to bed much earlier than you typically do. 

Do you see where we are getting at? If you do this once a year it probably doesn’t affect you too much. If you are a frequent traveler though it can be really difficult to get the right amount of sleep needed. 

Why do I need to worry about sleep when traveling?

Time differences are a very big consideration that needs to be made when traveling. If you are traveling from the east to the west coast you will see that there can be a large time difference; even more so if you are traveling internationally. 

For example, if you are traveling from New York to the west you will see that there is a 2-hour difference. If you are traveling from New York to Edinburgh, Scotland, you will see that there is a 7-hour difference. 

This type of traveling can lead to jet lag. Jet lag happens when the body’s internal clock is out of sync. It is a temporary sleep disorder but if not taken care of, can lead to extreme fatigue during the daytime which can also lead to sickness.

How to prioritize a good sleep schedule when traveling

There are a couple of ways you can beat the exhaustion from traveling. Some can be done before the trip even happens, and some have to be done after you have arrived at your destination. These tips can be applied to both flights and road trips. These changes are:

  • Prepare for jet lag with pre-travel habits 
  • Research the time zones and traditions of the locals
  • Keep in mind the two-day rule
  • Consider light therapy
  • Stay active 

Prepare for jet lag with pre-travel habits 

If you aren’t yet a pro at traveling, what you should consider are some pre-travel changes. What is meant by this is that if you know you will be dealing with a major time difference, take a few days and try to sleep within those changed hours. If you give it those couple of days your body will not feel the harshness of time differences as much as it normally would. 

If you find it hard to fall asleep in preparation these days, consider a supplement like Relaxium Sleep. This drug-free, non-habit-forming supplement is designed to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and help you wake up feeling more refreshed and alert. 

This also goes for eating habits. It may feel very strange but try to eat at the times when you would be when traveling. This will help maintain your hunger levels.

Research the time zones and traditions of the locals

Making sure you are aware of the time zone differences in extreme travel cases is crucial. You are currently adjusted to a certain circadian rhythm so your body is unaware that this will change. 

If you are staying in a busy city, make sure you know this. You could be trying to fall asleep and have a difficult time because of the commotion happening in the streets. Understanding what you are getting into will help you. 

The two-day rule

In some cases, traveling isn’t going to be a weeks-long affair. If your travel is going to be around 2 days then you should keep with the schedule you currently have. 

If you completely change your schedule it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things when you eventually arrive back home. It may be difficult if you’re dealing with the time difference but remember where you spend the most time and prioritize that sleep schedule.

Consider some light therapy

This tip is very helpful when dealing with big time differences. Exposing yourself to light can help make you feel more awake. When traveling and you touch down at your destination, it can be helpful to wear sunglasses so you minimize light exposure and can try to maintain your circadian rhythm. 

The same logic can be applied if you are needing to wake up when it feels like night. Allowing yourself to feel sunlight can help you to wake up when feeling drowsiness. 

Move as much as you can

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hit the gym as soon as you touch ground in the area you are traveling to, but remembering to get up and move around to help wake yourself up will help you exponentially. 

Taking a shower in the morning is very helpful in that process. Showering improves the blood’s circulation which in turn helps to move the nutrients we need throughout the body. 

Good luck! 

We know it isn’t the easiest thing to prioritize sleep when traveling but it is a choice decision that will help you in the long run. 

You don’t want to get sick or return from vacation, do you? So implement these tips early and your chances will decrease! 

To restful and healthy days ahead. 

The Relaxium Team 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.