25 July, 2017

How To Get A Great Night’s Sleep On Holiday

If you do a lot of travelling, it’s fair to say you will be familiar with two things, a stiff neck and shoulders and a lack of sleep. I don’t know about you but I always hate to leave my own bed and, no matter, how comfortable my travel accommodation, extremely glad to see it again. So how do you get a great night’s sleep on holiday or when you are travelling?

Aircraft engine viewed out of airplane window high above the clouds

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Now Tempur, the only NASA certified mattress retailer, has come up with a way to take a little bit of home comfort with you when you travel such as this travel pillow.

There’s a range of travel pillows such as the Tempur Transit Pillow which gently supports your head and neck, allowing you to sleep more comfortably when travelling.  It has a temperature sensitive, visco-elastic filling which forms to you with minimum counter pressure to help you relax.

Or the Tempur Comfort Travel Pillow which I was sent to try.  This is the mini version of Tempur’s original Comfort Pillow and I can see that it will have far more uses than just a travel pillow.  If you suffer from a bad back, as I do, it’s often useful to have extra support in the small of the back and this fits just right.

It’s beautifully soft and comes with a removable soft fabric cover which can be washed at 60 degrees C and meets the Oeko-tex 100 standard which means that it has been tested for harmful substances and poses no threat to health.Tempur Comfort Travel Pillow and Sleep Mask

I was also sent a Tempur Sleep Mask which is soft as butter, forms to your face and effectively blocks out the light.  It’s easy to fit – simply adjust the velcro straps behind your head. With this and my trusty earplugs, I’m away with the fairies in no time.

If you are planning to travel this summer, particularly with the kids, then here are some tips you might find useful – as road-tested by the Hobbis family.

Tips for a great night’s sleep on holiday

1. Use black out blinds for the kids.  You can find portable ones that just attach to the window with sucker-pads.

2. Don’t be afraid to nap – use the power of the siesta.  In any case, we should all be staying out of the sun between 12 pm and 3 pm.

3. Make sure you take the kids’ favourite comforters – but don’t lose them.  We once had to trek across what seemed like half of Cornwall because Ieuan left ‘blankie’ in Tescos in Truro.

4 If it’s hot you might find it cooler to stay in cotton pyjamas as the cotton will wick away any sweat.

5. You can find lots of tips to help your kids sleep in hot weather in this post.

5. Avoid alcohol and high sugar / high salt foods.

6. Avoid eating too close to sleeping.  A light supper is fine – a three-course meal, not so much.

7. Stock up on bottled water but get it free at airports. A trick I read recently from money-saving expert Martin Lewis is to take an empty water bottle through to the departure lounge and fill up with free water from one of the airport water fountains.

8. Carry the kids’ pyjamas in your hand luggage so you don’t have to route through suitcases to find their things. If nothing else we make sure we’ve got the kids’ toothbrushes to hand

9. To avoid jet lag you might be better off staying up until the ‘normal’ bedtime in your new location to allow your body clock to reset

10 Ear plugs, eye masks and travel pillows are your friends. A decent travel pillow will help support your neck while you travel and add a comforting touch to your hotel bed.Caitlin testing the Tempur Comfort Travel Pillow & Eye Mask

In his book “The Fitness Mindset“, health expert and author Brian Keane in his book gives some very helpful advice about improving the quality of our sleep.

In a study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in three adults does not obtain the recommended hours of sleep and, according to the NHS, not sleeping enough can lead to immune system problems, weight gain and mood disorders in extreme cases. Add in the extra stress of travelling and you have a recipe for less than glowing health!

Brian has two very useful tips for improving your sleep and falling asleep properly.

Firstly he suggests avoiding the “second wind”. This is a window from 10:45 PM to 11:00 PM when most people get naturally tired.

If you don’t go to sleep, you’ll get a cortisol (a steroid hormone) driven ‘second wind’ that can keep you awake until 2:00 AM or 3:00 AM. “If you can stick close to your body’s circadian cycle and get to bed before 11:00 PM, you will wake up feeling more rested than if you get the same amount of sleep starting later.

Obviously easier said than done in a different time zone but if you know when you are likely to feel tired you can at least adapt and do something to boost yourself and stave off fatigue.

Secondly, switch off your brain.  Journalling, meditation or even just some deep breathing may help. Perhaps you could carry a little travel journal to record your thoughts or write a list of things you are grateful for  (being seated together on an EasyJet flight?  no airport delays?)!

Travelling, whilst exhilarating, is often stressful and with some careful planning and understanding the needs of your body, you can do a lot to improve the quality of your sleep and rest, even when you’re thousands of miles from home.

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