Many people struggle with sleep while traveling. Whether it’s trying to catch 40 winks on long flight or struggling to sleep in the unfamiliar sounds and scents of a hotel room, it can be hard to catch the rest you need. And the lack of sleep can ruin a nice vacation. You want to have the energy to see all the sights, get in that extra mile of exploring, or just visit one more museum.

Bad sleep, even just a missed few hours, can dampen your mood, alter your appetite, upset your stomach, or even make it hard to remember the details of your trip. So even though sleep while traveling may be the last thing you want to make plans for, don’t ruin your good time by neglecting it.


If you’re flying somewhere in another time zone, especially one a long way away, start preparing early. A week before your flight if you can, start stepping your bedtime an hour at a time in the direction of when you’ll sleep in that time zone. When you land, try to immediately push it the rest of the way. Don’t nap early. Exception: If it’s a whirlwind trip, two days or less, it’s better to stick to your own schedule from home if you can.

Get help

Melatonin, taken an hour or two before when you want your bedtime to be, will help most people out, especially if you take it while reducing your light exposure and winding down physical activity. Avoid alcohol in the evenings; it contributes to incomplete sleep.

Curate Your Space

Hotels are never silent, and there’s nothing to be done about that. Bring earplugs, or ask at the front desk, and be used to wearing them. Turn on a fan for white noise, and if you’re sensitive to scents, bring a scent you like from home. Shut those heavy curtains and you’ll be out in no time.

Photo: Shutterstock