Sleep, or in its travel-related sense, accommodation, is a basic need for travellers. It typically requires more planning and money than other parts of the journey.
When you add the stress of travel to the increased stress on your body that results from lack of sleep, you essentially get the cortisol double-whammy. Super high levels of cortisol in your system that result from the lack of sleep drives up anxiety levels which places greater than average stress on the body. Sleep is essential for human beings. Travelers must get plenty of sleep before and during their trips – to avoid some very critical and dangerous mistakes that can cost them their health, their financial security, or their lives.
The amount of sleep a person needs depends on a number of factors, but in general the amount of sleep a person needs is determined by their age group:
- Infants need about 16 hours a day; toddlers between 12 and 14
- Kids need between 10 and 12 hours a day
- Teenagers require about 9 hours each day
- Most adults need 7 to 8 hours a day although some need as little as 5 or as many as 10
The below are some of the reasons on why it is important of sleep before and during your trip.
The body’s ability to sleep plays a critical role in your cognitive ability – that is your ability to think and to process information.
During sleep, while the body rests, the brain is busy processing information from the day and forming memories.Sleep is essential to the cognitive functions of the brain, and without it, our ability to consolidate memories, learn daily tasks, and make decisions is impaired.
Memory problems on your trip can mean lost luggage, missed connections, and an inability to find your hotel. To overcome such problems, you need to have a good sleep.
Weakened immune systems
Skipping our zzzs can increase our risk of getting sick and prolonged sleep deprivation has long been associated with diminished immune functions which leaves us more prone to catching colds, the flu, and everything else in between. Sleep loss also influences our body’s ability to fight an illness once it sets in.
Increased stress levels
When you add the stress of travel to the increased stress on your body that results from lack of sleep, you essentially get the cortisol double-whammy. Super high levels of cortisol in your system that result from the lack of sleep drives up anxiety levels which places greater than average stress on the body.
You might be fine as long as everything goes perfectly on your trip and you can tumble into a comfortable bed when you arrive and catch up on your sleep, but there are no such guarantees.
When you don’t get enough sleep, the body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol and in excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen – the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
It turns out that chronic sleep loss can lead directly to the formation of fine lines and lackluster skin. Of course, it also means dark circles under the eyes, and for some, eye-puffiness.
How to get a better sleep ?
- Travelling for a work – If you are crossing time zones, there are several tricks that can help your body and mind adjust accordingly. First, get in the zone. Timed lighting or over-the-counter melatonin can help you get to bed early so you can advance to the new time zone. To stay on top of your sleep even when traveling.
- Traveling for Fun – If you are crossing time zones but traveling for leisure, prepare as if you were traveling for work. However, there is more flexibility since your priorities will be less demanding when you arrive. This means you can choose to sleep when you feel tired rather than making your body adjust to the new time zone.
- Staying Local – If you are not crossing time zones, stick to your normal schedule and sleep patterns before and during your trip. This can help you avoid sleep deprivation.
Items to Pack
- Bedding – If space allows, bringing a sheet and a pillow with you for a long drive or flight can make it easier to fall asleep.
- Eye mask and earplugs – An eye mask and earplugs can help you block out unfamiliar noises and light during your travel. They can also help you shut out noisy street sounds and light in your new environment.
- Pillow – Take your comfortable pillow with you as it helps to sleep better making you feel home.
- Stay Healthy – Do not starve when you go to bed. Hunger won’t let you have a peaceful sleep. Eat healthy before you hit the bed.
Sleep Well. Dream Big. Travel More !