With the holidays swiftly approaching, you may have a trip planned in the near future. Unless you’re lucky enough to have family living in the next town over, you’ll be setting off on a journey that could potentially wreck havoc on your sleep schedule. When you’re used to going to bed in the same room on the same mattress every night, sleeping on the cot in Aunt Margery’s guest room may make it challenging to catch some shut eye.
How do you reduce your risk of sleep deprivation this holiday season? Use these tips to ensure you’re getting enough rest to fully enjoy your family reunions, gift giving extravaganzas and turkey feasts.
1. Bring lavender oil
The worst part of the holiday season may be sleeping on your family member’s couch or next to the designated “kids’ room” with all of the rambunctious toddlers. Thankfully, there are sleep-inducing items you can bring to your relative’s house that make sleep easier. For example, the National Sleep Foundation suggested packing some lavender oil. Sprinkling a few drops on your pillows and mattress have been shown to lower hear rates, which puts you in a more relaxed state. In fact, the foundation explained that there have been studies conducted that show smelling lavender before bed puts people in a deeper sleep.
2. Don’t eat too much before bedtime
The idea that turkey makes people drowsy is a common myth. Although it does contain tryptophan, the real culprit behind the sleepy sensation following a holiday meal is overeating. Consuming a large amount of food or alcohol before bed may cause you to drift off quickly, but chances are you won’t get a good night’s rest that leaves you feeling refreshed the next morning. Overindulging before bedtime can result in an increased heart rate and heartburn. It can even contribute to symptoms of insomnia, the most common sleep complaint among Americans.
3. Take sleep-inducing belongings
Everyone falls asleep using different methods or rituals. These may be challenging to continue in a sleep environment other than your bedroom. Packing a few personal belongings that help ease you into sleep can make a big difference in how many sheep you count while away from home. Consider bringing your own pillow, as your body is used to sleeping with it and new pillows may carry allergens that interfere with your ability to rest. Other noise and light canceling items like eye masks or earplugs may be worth fitting into your bag. It may also be a good idea to create a playlist consisting of soothing music you can listen to as you call it a night.
4. Stay hydrated
While the holidays and other big family gatherings often involve celebrating with eggnog and cocktails, it’s important to stay hydrated with water- dehydration is often the cause of travel fatigue. If you’re driving or flying somewhere, make sure you bring a couple of water bottles with you or take advantage of the complementary ones offered on your flight. Opting for a glass of water at every meal along with whatever else you’re drinking will also prevent dehydration.