Sleep Patterns While Traveling – Adjusting to New Time Zones

Sleep Patterns - Change ClockDid you recently have to change your time due to a time change? This hour (especially when you lose it) really messes with a lot of people, Gene is in this lucky group, but an hour doesn’t seem to bother me as much. This did start me thinking about losing sleep and sleep patterns while traveling. Oddly enough Gene doesn’t have as much trouble adjusting to time differences when traveling to Europe, but this hour difference throws him for a loop, lol.

Airline TicketsI decided to do some research and found some ways to battle travel fatigue and try to keep your sleep patterns more in tune with your normal sleep patterns. It is much easier if you are traveling in the same time zone. I did a post on dealing with jet lag while traveling abroad, but this post is about traveling within 1-3 time zones. Here are 10 tips I found for local traveling:

Sleep Patterns - Time Zone MapWhile it may be difficult, try maintaining some similarities to your regular sleep patterns.  Whether you’re traveling a few hours away or to another time zone, focus on keeping up with your sleep. Try to maintain the same hours when it comes to going to bed or waking up. Getting too little sleep during your vacation can weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to catching a cold and ruining your vacation

Sleep Patterns - PillowBring your own bedding if possible, at least a pillow. If you know that wrapping up in your own pillows and blankets will lead to more restful sleep, pack them in the car or suitcase. Your body craves a stable routine and bringing along familiar items will help keep your sleep schedule on track.

Sleep Patterns - MaskCall the hotel before you arrive to see if they have black-out curtains or other sleep aids. If they don’t, be prepared with a sleep mask, earplugs, or calming music. You never know when a hotel may be in the middle of a remodel or night owls could be in the room next to yours. Pack items that will block out unwanted noise and light.

Sleep Patterns - DrinksDon’t eat or drink too much. While it is tempting to indulge on vacation, too many calories or too much alcohol close to bedtime could keep you pacing throughout the night. Drinking can also make you snore loudly. It relaxes the muscles in your body, which means the tissue in your throat, mouth, and nose can stop air from flowing smoothly and is more likely to vibrate. Thus disturbing you and your partner’s sleep.

Sleep Patterns - BeachExperts say it takes about one day to recover from traveling across one time zone. If your vacation is packed with activities and you cannot afford one day of rest, consider setting your clock to your destination’s local time a day or so before departing. Plan your sleep/wake pattern around this new time and you will be ready to hit the beach (or any other destination) upon arrival.

Sleep Patterns - UnisomIf sleep medication or supplements are not a normal part of your life, do not rely on them as a sleep aid while on vacation. A medication that works well for another family member or friend may have adverse side effects for you, so be sure to consult a doctor before traveling with any prescriptions.

Sleep Patterns - WaterMake sure to stay hydrated. Dehydration is often a cause of travel fatigue. Make sure to drink plenty of water before boarding a plane, and do not pass up the opportunity to snag the smaller-sized bottles once on board. If you are driving, consider stocking a cooler with bottled water or bring a large thermos to keep fully hydrated.

Take Time to De-Stress. Catching flights, getting stuck in traffic, and even the anticipation of seeing certain family members can leave you feeling stressed. Make sure you take time to unwind. Whether it’s taking a moment to meditate in the morning, enjoying a quiet cup of tea in the afternoon, or reading a book before bed, taking moments to yourself can help you stay relaxed and refreshed.

Saving 5Don’t Skip Out on Exercise. Exercise is a great way to ensure you have time to yourself, while also helping you maintain a healthy sense of routine. Don’t miss out on your morning run or a weekly yoga class just because you are traveling. It will give you a boost of energy and revitalize your overall mood.

Sleep-Patterns-BreakfastEat a Healthy Breakfast. Whether you’re on the road, in the air or you’ve reached your destination, don’t miss out on breakfast. Having a healthy breakfast can give you more energy and at least, in some small way, make up for the often unhealthy eating that can happen while on vacation. Resist the urge to simply grab a holiday cookie or pie and instead opt for yogurt, high protein cereal, and other healthy breakfast options.


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5 thoughts on “Sleep Patterns While Traveling – Adjusting to New Time Zones

  1. Some great tips! I’ll share with my husband who is coming home soon from that one hour ahead time difference. Isn’t it weird how a 1-2 hour difference can mess up sleep while a 12 hour difference may not?

    1. Thanks for the comment Angie. It is crazy how an hour time zone change is harder than a 12 hour time difference. Hope these tips help in your future adventures. Happy travels.

  2. Wow, what great tips to help with jet lag when traveling. I can say that I have tried a few of these myself and they really do help. One tip that keeps me balanced is to not change my wrist watch time at all when I travel. This way I can still know when I need to go to bed!!!
    Works for me. Every other electronic device around me will have a different time, but I found this tip is best!

    1. HI Gladys. Thank you so much for the comment, and advice about the wrist watch. I don’t use one anymore (thanks to cell phones, lol) but my tablet does not change time. Therefore I can look at it and now what time it is here at home. Thanks again for stopping by my site nad leaving a msg. Safe travels.

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