Have you ever noticed how much better you sleep while on vacation? The fresh air and sunlight after exploring all day and then coming back to a plush hotel mattress all contribute to a great night's sleep. So why not take all the things that help you relax on vacation and put them to use at home.
When you've had a decent night's sleep, you feel better in the morning and your sleeping habits influence your physical and mental health. It takes some people years to be able to make sleep a priority, but after our month-long family vacation, we did just that.
Tricks to Getting a Good Nights Sleep
Using an Eye Mask
An eye mask is one of the best travel accessories, but it is perfect for helping catch some zzzs at home. It's so comfortable, making everything around you nice and dark. You wouldn't believe how much of a difference an eye mask makes. If you haven't tried one yet, you should. It is a game-changer for sleeping at home or on vacation.
Get Rid of All Lights In Your Room
If you don't use an eye mask, you want to make sure that your room is dark. I mean dark, no hallway lights, no bathroom lights, no lights from your phone or alarm clock. I also mean no little red lights from your TV. Get rid of all the lights in your room. Put something in front of those little lights on your TV, so you don't see them. A dark room makes a big difference in the quality of sleep you get.
Hotel rooms usually have heavy dark black-out curtains to make your room as dark as possible. Consider buying some for your bedroom at home.
Put Your Phone Down at Least an Hour Before Bed
I know this one is hard to do, but it works. Get off your phone at least an hour before you go to bed. This hour of no phone or tv time will let you start to relax and not think about all the things you have to get done or all the things you saw on social media.
We started doing this as a family on our vacation, and we used the last hour before bed to discuss all the fun things we did that day. Not only did it keep us off our phones, but it also allowed our family to connect with each other instead of staring at our phones in silence.
Use a Sound Machine
We always travel with a sound machine when staying at hotels or resorts. The soothing sound options block out all the excess noise from the hallways or those loud guests who stumble back to their room in the middle of the night. Using a sound machine at home works just as well, especially if you have family members who keep to different bedtime or schedules or are early risers.
Increase Your Exposure to Bright Light During the Day:
Sunlight helps keep the body's internal clock in balance. You might sleep better at night if you go outside for at least 30 minutes each day. When on vacation, you will normally spend more time outside than you would at home on a typical day. After exploring outside all day on our vacation, we noticed that the fresh air and sunlight contributed to our restful sleep at night.
Establish a Regular Sleeping Schedule:
Every day, go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. A routine sleeping pattern will help your body acclimate to the schedule and make it simpler to nod off. For example, we typically keep to a regular schedule on our family vacations, so our bodies naturally woke up at similar times, and we would all start winding down at similar times in the evening.
Create a Relaxing Bedroom Environment:
One thing about staying in a resort hotel for a month, you spend a lot of time in the hotel room. Thankfully the rooms are designed to be relaxing. Your bedroom should be a soothing environment where you feel at ease. Make certain it's dark, quiet, and chilly. Avoid watching television or doing paperwork in your room.
We loved the aesthetic of our hotel room, so we recreated it at home, and now it is one of our favorite spots in the house to escape to when we need to relax. Sleep comes much easier in a calm, relaxed environment.
Read A Book
You have heard over and over that TV and computer screens are bad for your eyes and other is some truth to it. It's been scientifically proven time after time that not only do they make you more tense but also exhausted from all the stimulating light waves.
A book, though? These days, there is no better way to get a good night's sleep than snuggling up with a book before bed. Reading a travel book on vacation is a great way to wind down at the end of a day. Researching things to do the next day or reading about the area we are in allowed us to get in the habit of reading more in the evenings and we carried on the practice when we returned home.
The Bottom Line
You can do many things to change your sleeping habits after a long family vacation. By following some simple tips, you can get the best sleep of your life. Many people experience anxiety before going to bed, and there are several things you can try if you have difficulty sleeping. Try some of these suggestions and see whether they work for you. If not, talk to your doctor about other possibilities.
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Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous young boys. Casandra is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate.
A Toronto native with Danish roots, she became an avid traveler after her first trip to Europe as a college student. Casandra's goal is to provide an educational experience for her family when she travels. When visiting historic sites like D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, or learning about ranch life at a dude ranch on horseback, it’s always a priority to provide an educational experience and to learn about the culture and history of each destination.
You can follow her adventures at karpiakcaravan or get in touch via her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.