Insomnia during travel – 3 objects that might help you enjoy and get sufficient sleep

11 spalio, 2019 / Bartek IT

Insomnia during the very first night – First night effect

A ride or flight might consist of numerous “distractions” that you might wish to sleep through. Any person who travels a lot is aware that it is no easy task. However, it is always worth a try. Why? Because soon after your arrival at your destination you might come across the so-called “first night effect”. It was described by scientists from Brown University in Providence and constitutes one of the body’s defense reactions – a state of half-sleep where the left hemisphere stays awake and alert. It can be experienced while spending the night at an unknown place. Such brain activity makes us sensitive to the most quiet rustles and makes us ready to either escape or defend ourselves right after being shaken awake. In the past, this allowed our ancestors to survive. But today? Well…

After several attempts to fall asleep in the passenger’s seat – with mediocre results – as it is a bit too chilly, a bit too bright and a bit too noisy. You are suffering from neck ache caused by your head falling down as you strive to keep it back at the headrest, you need to be prepared that your “left hemisphere will stay awake”. Moreover, it’s not as bad if you remain within the same time zone.

All this is caused by change within your environment. A new reality can thrill you by its beautiful landscapes, elegant interiors and cleanliness. However, your mind needs something more to turn itself off and become able to rest – bed sheets with a familiar scent, personal belongings or a room that resembles the one where you usually fall asleep. Fortunately, the brain can be mistaken and…to the satisfaction of the hotel staff there is no need to request another hotel room.

How to overcome insomnia during travel?

Nothing is as good as your own bed. Nonetheless, there are several things that will help you transfer your mind right into your bedroom. Thus, if your list of things is not finite as yet, you can add several things to it:

Blindfold – did you know that light effectively inhibits production of dopamine that is responsible for sleep? A non-diaphanous blindfold will help you separate yourself from the surroundings as well as protect your eyes from unwanted light. This is a perfect solution if you wish to sleep while traveling as well as when you need to adapt to another time zone.
Your own blanket and pillow – it is much more pleasant to fall asleep when you are embraced by a thin layer of fabric that is pleasant to the touch (Note: do not take a freshly washed blanket with you but decide in favor of a blanket that is already soaked with your own scent. This will become a signal for your brain that the place is safe and there in no sense to stay alert). A small pillow will be another advantage – similarly to the above mentioned blanket, it ought not to be freshly washed. It is important to make sure that both accessories can be packed within your hand-luggage – they will be of no use in the baggage hold.
Ear plugs –in case your travel companions become too noisy. A similar result can be achieved by earphones playing either relaxation music or white noise.
What might come in handy as well? Weighted blanket – if you can afford taking a weighted blanket with you, do it. The blanket will replace a masseur and thus help you calm down and separate from the rest of the world as well as restore your strength. A weighted blanket needs only several minutes to bring back your pep. It is a perfect solution for longer journeys when you need to be full of bounce on the next day or when you are required to use maximum attention. It acts as a real-time energy charger for your inner battery.

There is also one thing that will improve your comfort while travelling – especially when you take your child with you – weighted blankets for children. They can calm down and soothe the nerves of both children and parents 😉 For many children that fear of travelling by means of public transportation, or do not like the company of strangers and cannot function properly in unknown surroundings, a weighted blanket constitutes as an absolute “must have”!

At last – if you wish to take the above mentioned accessories with you, make sure that they are dirt-resistant (especially the ones that you will be using in the car, on the plane or on the bus). You ought to remember that alcohol consumption, sitting in front of the computer late at night, checking the mail, reading social media posts and any other “time consumers” comprise the real foes of sleep. If you are planning to take sleeping pills, make sure that it is legal to take them to a particular country.

Bon voyage!