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Getting Better Rest on Vacation

Vacations are supposed to be restful, right? You don’t have to be at work. Most people don’t even have to set an alarm clock while they’re on vacation. You have long, peaceful days to spend in the location of your choice, whether you’re lounging on the beach, hanging out by a lake, or taking the scenic route through your favorite town. There’s just one problem: you aren’t feeling very rested.

The mattress is too hard (or, conversely, softer than the one that you’re used to sleeping on). The pillow doesn’t smell right. The sheets are scratchy. The light coming through the windows doesn’t hit at the right angle, and the hotel makes strange, unfamiliar noises–especially if you’re unlucky enough to share a thin wall with a noisy neighbor. It doesn’t take long before you’re starting to wonder if you’re going to come back from your vacation more tired than when you left!

If you’re struggling to get adequate rest while you’re on vacation, there’s hope! You can turn things around and, even if you aren’t quite sleeping like a baby, get a quality night’s rest while you’re away from home. With any luck, you’ll even find that you’re actually more rested when you come back from vacation.

Check Your Diet

Let’s face it: when you’re on vacation, your usual diet goes out the window. Most people are lucky to get one vacation a year, after all, and they might as well enjoy them! Unfortunately, poor dietary choices can also lead to poor rest that night. Is eating at your favorite restaurant really worth tossing and turning all night? Try keeping a few simple dietary rules in place while you’re on vacation to avoid interfering with the rest you need so badly.

  • Avoid foods that you know are going to cause digestive distress. If you know you can’t eat garlic or onions without it turning your stomach upside down, Italian for dinner might not be your best choice!
  • Keep the alcohol light. Yes, you’re on vacation. Sure, you can sleep as late as you’d like. Unfortunately, alcohol can interfere with your sleep habits all night long, leading to a shallower sleep with less of the vital REM sleep that will help you feel rested.
  • Watch what you drink with dinner. When you’re away from home, you’re more likely to drink soda or tea–and the caffeine can take six hours or more to wear off enough to let you sleep. Opt for water instead.
  • Don’t skip on lunch. A cycle of fasting and binge-eating can lead to significantly troubled sleep, especially if you’re overeating at the last meal of the day.
  • Add some carbs into your dinner diet to help you feel more full and satisfied longer.

Don’t Avoid Your Workout

You’re on vacation! The last thing you want to worry about is lacing up your running shoes and going for a jog, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar area. Skipping out on your regular exercise routine, however, can make it extremely difficult to fall asleep at night, especially if you’re accustomed to a good workout every day. 150 minutes of exercise per week–or about thirty minutes a day, five days a week–can lead to 65% better sleep when you’re at home, in your own bed. If you’re exercising properly while you’re on vacation, you’ll be more likely to be able to get your brain to turn off and let you rest when it matters. Struggling to find opportunities for exercise? Try:

  • Jogging around a park or around the neighborhood where you’re staying, if it’s safe.
  • Going for a long walk to check out the area. Walking at a mall or in a shopping area is appropriate, but make sure you don’t get distracted from your exercise by browsing!
  • Choose a hotel that offers a gym to guests. Spend some time using the machines before dinner each evening.
  • Check out the hotel pool. Don’t just float around enjoying the water, though that’s certainly a good way to relax at the end of the day. Swim a few laps to get your heart pumping and make the most of your exercise routine.
  • Explore the exercise opportunities that your destination has to offer. From swimming or surfing in the ocean to hiking through the mountains, many vacation destinations have great exercise opportunities just waiting for you.

Keep to Your Schedule

When you’re on vacation, you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn, because you don’t have anywhere you have to be or anything that you have to do at a specific time. For many people, that means it’s time to turn off the alarm and sleep the day away. There’s just one problem: when you turn your sleep routine upside down, it can interfere with your body’s natural clock, making it hard for you to get the quality rest you need. Instead of turning off your alarm completely, try keeping to your normal schedule as much as possible. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Try to keep it within two hours of your usual bedtime, and do the same with your wake-up time. Not only will you be able to sleep easier, you’ll find that maintaining your schedule while on vacation will make it easier to return to your sleep schedule when you get back home.

Watch your naps carefully, too. Some people can take a long nap in the afternoon and wake up feeling refreshed, then turn in at their regular time that night. Others struggle to sleep at night if they’ve taken a nap during the day. Early naps tend to be better than late ones, but if they’re affecting your sleep, skip the nap entirely to get the best rest possible.

Pack Wisely

Hotels are rarely the restful places you’d like to imagine. By altering your packing list to include a few important items, however, you can make it easier to get the rest you need. Try, for example, including your pillowcase from home so that the familiar smell will help lull you to sleep. If you’re going to be staying in a hotel, don’t forget the earplugs. Use a white noise machine, a book on tape, or something else to help you fall asleep when you’re at home? Include it in your suitcase when you head on vacation to keep yourself from staring at the ceiling. In some cases, an eye mask can also help block out excess light and make it easier for you to get some much-needed rest at the end of the day. If you have enough room in your bag, you might also consider adding your favorite blanket so that you’ll have something to snuggle up and get cozy with, especially if your room is too cold.

Getting good, quality rest on vacation can be a challenge, especially if you’re in a loud environment with too much light pouring in while you’re trying to sleep. Thankfully, a few changes to your routine can make it easier to turn your vacation into the restful event you were hoping for. If you discover when you get back from vacation that a hotel room was more comfortable than your own bed, however, it’s time to make some serious changes! Contact us today to learn more about the type of mattress that will help you get the sleep you need every day, not just when you’re on vacation.