Ways to sleep better before you travel
Updated: Mar 21
Has this ever happened to you? You almost missed your flight! You breathe a sigh of relief when you finally find your seat but it was a close one. You stayed up late packing the night before, only to forget your toothbrush and your cell phone charger as you rushed out the door that morning. You remembered your wallet a mile away from your house so you had to go back and get it. Hence the speeding to the airport and barely making it through security to make your flight. But you made it. And now you’re exhausted. You can’t wait to get to your destination and catch up on some much-needed sleep!
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Today I want to tell you about how to prep for travel so that it's not stressful and so that you can actually get the sleep you need before you go. If you start off your trip and you're tired because you didn’t sleep the night before you're not going to be able to enjoy your trip as much. You’re just going to want to catch up on sleep and not be social. Whether you're traveling for business or for fun or over the holidays to see family, going into your trip well-rested is going to mean that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Now for the tips:
1. Make a list
I suggest making a list of everything you need to pack and everything you need to do before your trip. As you pack and do things, you can mark them off your list. By the time it’s the night before your flight, you should have only the last-minute things to pack (like your phone and charger and toiletries).
Having this list will help you sleep better because your brain won’t be trying to remember everything you need the next morning. Instead, you and that helpful brain of yours can relax and sleep peacefully knowing that everything is out of your head and on paper. This technique also helps you to not forget anything, especially for those early morning flights when you haven’t had your coffee and you’re still in a fog.
2. Plan and prioritize
Going one step further from tip #1, I recommend planning and prioritizing your list. That means actually writing out step-by-step what you're going to need to do and what day you're going to do it. This will help minimize your stress because you’ll know that you have time to get everything done.
For example, since you're going to need to make sure that you have clean clothes, that might mean doing laundry and/ or going to the dry cleaners. For a Friday flight, you could drop off your clothes at the dry cleaners on Monday after work and pick them up on Wednesday. Planning on doing laundry on Tuesday or Wednesday to make sure everything is clean and dry by the time you start packing on Wednesday can be helpful. Then you can use your list to start packing your suitcase on Wednesday, except for the last minute items.
Here’s an example attack plan for a Friday morning flight:
reserve rental car-Monday
dry cleaners-drop off on Monday, pick up Wednesday
schedule ride to the airport-Wednesday
buy snacks for plane-Thursday
3. Avoid alcohol
Something else to consider so that you get a good night's sleep before you leave is to plan on not drinking. I’m sure you know that drinking alcohol interferes with your sleep. Now I always recommend being at zero percent blood level alcohol by the time you go to bed. But I know personally that I just don't sleep as well if I've had a drink at all. Since you’re going to be well-prepared and not stressed, you won’t need that glass of wine that can help you relax but also potentially sabotage your sleep.
I don't meditate every night but I find it especially helpful on days where I am really stressed or if I’ve stayed up late. So if you’ve been packing and getting things together the night before you’re leaving, meditating can help you relax and sleep more peacefully.
If you already have a meditation practice, it's going to be much easier to meditate before bed. Even taking five minutes to let those thoughts go through your head and breathe deeply and relax will really help you sleep better wake up feeling refreshed.
If you have problems sleeping I highly recommend starting a meditation practice. You can find out why and how in my previous blog post here. I don't recommend doing it right before bed if it's something that you aren't used to. So I suggest meditating in the middle of the day for a couple of weeks. You can start with a couple minutes at a time and increase as you want to. Then once you feel comfortable with it then you could move it into your bedtime routine.
Meditation is something that has tremendously helped me sleep better and so I definitely recommend it to many of my clients.
5. Get a good night’s sleep
The last thing I suggest doing is to actually plan on getting a good night's sleep. If you've already planned and prepared then you're not going to need to stay up super late doing last-minute packing. That means that you can plan on peaceful slumber. Yay!
Going to bed at your usual time, even if you have to get up early, is going to make a big difference. If you go to bed at 10pm and have to wake up at 5am, that's still 7 hours of sleep. That's much better than going to bed at midnight and only having five hours to sleep. If you do that, you’re gonna be a wreck the next day and you're going to be exhausted when you get wherever you're going. So plan on getting a good amount of sleep the night before so that you can really enjoy your trip.
Instead of barely making your flight and starting your trip a stressed, exhausted and hot mess, imagine the alternative. Your alarm goes off at 5am and you spring out of bed, well-rested and ready to go. You grab the few last minute things that are on your list and head out the door with everything you need. You drive to the airport, relaxed and calm because you know you remembered it all. You sink into your seat on the plane, excited to watch a movie and see your friends and family when you get to your destination.
That’s a much better scenario, right?
I’ve been traveling quite a bit recently, and I’ve found that I’m much happier on my trips if I start off well-rested than if I’m sleep deprived. So I hope these tips help you get the rest you need before your trip so that you’re more cheerful, alert and happy when you get to your destination.
As always, if you aren’t sleeping well, feel free to get in touch. We can figure out why! Schedule a free Sleep Breakthrough call to find out the top 3 reasons why you aren’t sleeping and the #1 thing you can do to fix it.