Article written by Sarah, The Sleep Advisor.It’s inevitable, at some point practically every person who sets off on a journey will have to return for one reason or another. If you’re one of the lucky people who has just managed to experience the travels of a lifetime but is now feeling like it was all a distant dream as you arrive back in the Motherland, the tan is fading fast, and you can’t sleep, then we might have just the thing for you.
Sliding back into the regular sleep pattern you had before you went away isn’t such a straightforward occurrence for plenty of people, understandably. So, if it’s a little helping hand you need to see you through this transition period, then read on and take these tips away with you that will make it that much easier.
Resetting Your Sleep Schedule After Traveling
1. Resist the Allures of Napping
You might have been able to get a nap or two on top of a few hours’ sleep while you were away traveling, but trust us, that’s definitely not a smooth and sustainable way of doing things.
You must resist the urge to nap during the day. Why? Well, there’s plenty of evidence to support napping and the benefits associated with it, but when you get back you will end up napping for prolonged periods, that move out of being classed as naps and are periods of full-on sleep or chilling in bed for ages with not so much as a single yawn the whole time.
You need to focus on altering your sleep cycle back to normal, and as such, it’s really central to achieving this to restrict yourself to sleeping only for the daily recommended amount that experts advise each night. Swerving those oh so alluring naps will help you adjust much faster and means you can fewer hours feeling sluggish.
2. Let the Light Lead You
Try letting the light, or lack of it that you’re exposed to, help you overcome your issues with resetting your sleep schedule after traveling.
The aim of the game here is to trick your body into thinking it’s the right time for you to bed down for the night, no matter what the actual time is. You need to retrain your brain, so it’s vital that you keep that bedroom space of yours as dark and light-free as possible.
Achieve this with blackout blinds/curtains, removing artificial light such as digital clocks, TVs, etc. You should also think about the other side of the coin too, which is to know when to get up, and once you know your time slot for this, let as much light in as you can as this will signal to your brain that it’s the right time to get up and go!
3. Tech Needs to Take a Back Seat
Moving on from something we touched on in the last point was leaving tech and artificial light out on the bedroom. Well, to explain this a little further, if you want to optimise sleep and find that routine again, you should be switching off screens and helping your brain to shut down from all the stimulation around two hours before you want to be asleep.
Gazing at your phone, laptop and indeed watching TV before you shut your eyes only serves to interrupt your sleep cycle, sleep.org confirms.
4. Establish a Routine for Your Evenings
Establishing, or re-establishing a healthy, relaxing evening routine is a sure-fire way to aid your quest to recondition your mind and body to fall in line with the schedule you want.
Find easy things to do and hold on to those actions each evening. It can be as trivial as enjoying a relaxing chamomile tea while taking a warm bath or shower and then brushing your teeth, which will all be breadcrumb-style triggers for your brain that it is time to unwind, settle down before you head off to bed for 40 winks.
5. When You Sleep, Do It With Tranquillity
Things won’t always be plain sailing on your route to getting that sleep routine sorted, so you can always give a doctor-approved dose of melatonin that will act as a natural sleep aid. It’s melatonin that is naturally-occurs in the brain which regulates sleep and wakefulness, so the addition of this will help you to find sound slumber when the time is right for you.
You might also want to give wearing an eye mask and some earplugs a whirl because having the added ability to block out sleep-distracting lights and noises. They can also help your body to focus on the task at hand which is, of course, to find sound sleep that you can enjoy as part of a healthy, regular routine each evening.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.