How to create a positive sleep environment away from home
Going away is often exciting and fun, especially when you’re on holiday. Yet sleeping in a new place can sometimes be difficult. Our sleep is influenced by routine, which is why it’s important to go to sleep at regular times and practice good sleep hygiene. But anything from a change of mattress, sheets, jet lag, room temperature and brightness can affect how well we sleep, which can, in turn, impact how we feel the next day.
Whether you’re away for work or for pleasure, RESCUE® has a few tips to help ensure you have a positive sleep environment when you’re away from home.
1. Regulate room temperature
The temperature of your room can make a significant difference to your sleep quality. Our body temperature naturally dips in the evening, but if your room is too warm, it may be sending signals to your body that it isn’t time to go to sleep yet, which is why sleeping in a cooler room can be beneficial. If you’re sleeping in a hotel room, chances are there will be a thermostat that you can regulate. If that’s the case, try turning it down to a sleep temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius.
If the room you’re staying in doesn’t have a thermostat, then maybe open the windows, and if that doesn’t help, see if you can find a lighter blanket to sleep with, or make sure to pack something thin and loose-fitting to sleep in.
2. Have a dark room
While sleeping in a dark room can benefit your sleep, again, this isn’t always guaranteed when you’re away. Our body naturally begins to settle down when the sun goes down, but with longer days in the summer, you may find that your mind is still quite active in the evening. If your room has a dimmer and curtains, then make sure to use these about an hour before you go to sleep to help you switch off. Since you won’t know for sure how effective the curtains or blinds will be in your room, make sure to always pack a sleep mask with you – just in case! Any sleep mask is great to have, but a satin one could feel nice and cooling on your eyes and is good for sensitive skin.
3. Shut down electronic devices
Though discomfort from being away from home might make us more inclined to reach for our phones or spend an extra hour on Netflix, try your best to switch off your electronic devices at least an hour before you actually go to sleep. Not only does the blue light in these devices interfere with your body’s internal clock, but with easy access to news sources and social media, it’s easy to increase your stress levels and racing thoughts before you try to wind down for bed. If you’re struggling with downtime before going to sleep, make sure you pack things to make that hour before sleep blissful, such as a novel or even a colouring book. You could also pack a small bottle of bubble bath in case your room has a tub!
4. Be prepared
Going away isn’t always easy, and your room won’t always be the most comfortable. Sometimes packing our own comfy pillow or bringing along a comfy pair of slippers can make us feel a little better and more ‘at home’. A great tip for packing your own pillow is to use a vacuum pack bag – it’ll shrink down to nothing so you can easily add it to your luggage. Bringing along some earplugs for sleeping is also a good idea as you’ll never know how loud your room will be until you’re there. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in bed and can’t get to sleep, get out of bed for a few minutes, shake out your legs, maybe write down how you’re feeling and then try again.
5. Continue your bedtime routine
Leaving home doesn’t mean you have to forget about your bedtime routine and sleep hygiene. Though it will undoubtedly be a little different, try to make sure you’re keeping similar steps to wind down. If possible, try to go to sleep at a similar time that you would at home. Bring all of your favourite bits of skincare with you and spend a few minutes practicing your skincare routine. Though you might not be able to bring candles with you to create that perfect relaxing environment, see if you can dim the lights and play some calming music instead. Don’t forget to pack your favourite book and your journal and spend a half hour to an hour before bed reading or writing down a couple of things you’re grateful for.
6. Practice relaxing activities
Along with journaling, reading, and switching off your electronic devices, consider trying out some other calm activities to help ensure you get a blissful sleep. If you’re a bit stiff from traveling, then maybe spend 5-10 minutes stretching out your body with some relaxing bedtime yoga – there are plenty of videos on YouTube you could try out. Meditating and breathing exercises are also a great way to clear the mind and slow down and could even help you manage feelings of stress or worry. YouTube is always a good place to start if you’ve never tried these activities before. You definitely don’t need to practice all of these activities, but incorporating one or two into your bedtime routine could help you get a natural night’s sleep when you’re away from home.