It’s always rough traveling on only a few hours of sleep. The views don’t seem as gorgeous, walking is twice as exhausting, and nothing sounds better than heading back to your bed and taking a nice long nap. A good night’s sleep makes the difference between a great and energetic day filled with exploration, or a tiring day where you just want to pass out, so it’s crucial to get a good night’s rest. That’s why I made this list of my best tips and tricks on how to sleep better and have a great night’s sleep every single night.
- 1 Tip #1: 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
- 2 Tip #2: Be Prepared With Your Sleep Gear
- 3 Tip #3: Avoid Caffeine
- 4 Tip #4: Read Something Boring
- 5 Tip #5: Create A Sleep Schedule
- 6 Tip #6: Drink Chamomile Tea
- 7 Tip #7: Avoid Exercise Before Sleeping
- 8 Tip #8: Avoid Heavy Meals Before Sleeping
- 9 Tip #9: Avoid Your Smartphone Before Sleeping
- 10 Tip #10: Avoid Alcohol Before Sleeping
- 11 Tip #11: Sleep In A Cool Environment
- 12 Tip #12: Take Melatonin
- 13 Final Thoughts On How To Sleep Better
Tip #1: 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
I wish I could say I came up with this simple but genius breathing technique, but I can’t. A few months ago, I learned about a trick that’s been one of the best methods I’ve ever used to fall asleep. Named the “4-7-8 Breathing Exercise”, it’s a breathing technique created by a Harvard doctor that is supposed to help you fall asleep rapidly. I personally use this technique nearly every night, and I can say that 95% of the time, it works great. The procedure for this exercise is as follows:
- Exhale completely through your mouth.
- Inhale through your nose for four seconds, and then hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 a few times, and you should fall asleep in a jiffy!
Tip #2: Be Prepared With Your Sleep Gear
In my opinion, the two most important things to help you sleep are a great pair of earplugs and a soft eye mask. These two items will allow you to have a great night’s sleep, regardless of your situation.
I first started using earplugs in college when I had a roommate who snored unbelievably loud. And ever since I started using them, I’ve never stopped. With earplugs, even if there is background noise, such as other people snoring in your hostel room, cars honking on the street, or early morning construction, you’ll be able to sleep through it all. The earplugs I use are the Hearos Xtreme Protection Ear Plugs, I bought a bunch of them since they’re cheap and I always seem to lose them. These earplugs are the best I’ve tried, they block out the most noise. Other earplugs I’ve tried are too soft and don’t block out enough noise.
With an eye mask, you’ll be able to fall asleep even if it’s bright as day, and stay asleep even if there are no blinds blocking out the sun in the morning. The one I use is the ALASKA BEAR® Natural Silk Sleep Mask. It’s made of silk so it’s great quality, super comfortable, and doesn’t get warm. And best of all, it’s also pretty cheap. Other eye masks I’ve tried aren’t as comfortable and get too warm during the night.
When I’m traveling, I always keep both of these products with me, and they’ve greatly increased my quality of sleep. I highly recommend both of them for their effectiveness and price.
Tip #3: Avoid Caffeine
Avoid drinking too much caffeine, and don’t drink it too late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant, and as everyone knows, stimulants keep you awake. So stay away from drinking coffee for at least six hours before bedtime. My tolerance for coffee is not very high, so I personally stick with one cup in the morning, and that’s it. Sometimes even if I just drink a Coke at night, I’ll have trouble falling asleep.
Tip #4: Read Something Boring
Remember how studying and reading textbooks in college made you want to fall asleep? So why not do the same in order to fall asleep! I have a textbook on my phone that I’m currently reading, but it’s not the most interesting topic. So if I read for a bit in bed, I usually get really sleepy and fall asleep quickly. Try it out and see if it works for you. Just make sure to read something boring and not something you actually enjoy reading, otherwise you might end up staying up all night reading!
Tip #5: Create A Sleep Schedule
The best way to have consistent quality sleep is to create a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Also, our sleep cycles last 90 minutes, so try to schedule your sleep for a period of time that is a multiple of 90 minutes, so around either 7.5 hours or 9 hours each night. If you wake up near the end of a sleep cycle, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, and if you wake up in the middle, it will be from your deepest sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling groggy.
Another way to consistently wake up feeling refreshed is to keep your blinds open. Have you ever noticed that when there is sun shining in the morning, it’s easier to wake up? But if you prefer to keep your blinds closed at night to keep your room dark, or if the sun wakes you up too early in the morning, try using a sun lamp clock. These lamps are alarm clocks that gradually wake you up with a natural light that is designed to emulate sunlight. I use the Philips Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock and it works great.
Tip #6: Drink Chamomile Tea
Nicknamed as “sleep tea”, chamomile tea is known for being a remedy for relaxation and sleep. When I know I should go to sleep, but I’m not feeling too tired, I brew up a nice warm cup of chamomile tea, and it always helps me relax and knock out much more easily. This is my personal favorite, Numi Organic Chamomile Lemon Tea. Numi also has other great tea blends such as their Jasmine Green Tea, but don’t drink that one before bed!
Tip #7: Avoid Exercise Before Sleeping
While exercising regularly helps you sleep better, it’s best to avoid exercising in the hours before sleeping. Exercising gets your heart rate up, and stimulates your body to create the stress hormone cortisol, which makes your brain alert. While this is great for your body and health, it’s not so great if you’re trying to fall asleep.
Tip #8: Avoid Heavy Meals Before Sleeping
Ever have a huge dinner before going to bed and find it hard to sleep? Overeating right before sleeping is a major cause for insomnia, and I’ve personally experienced this many times. Your body is trying to digest all the food you ate, which makes it hard to fall asleep. It’s also uncomfortable to lie down when you are really full, so eat a light meal or eat earlier.
Tip #9: Avoid Your Smartphone Before Sleeping
There’s a reason why the new iOS version has a night mode, which changes the color of the light that the LED screen emits. Blue light, which is the regular screen light color during the day, can slow the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells our brain it’s time to go to sleep. Without melatonin, we stay awake and don’t feel tired, which is why it’s so easy to spend hours lying in bed scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I recommend always using night mode or just avoiding using your phone at night altogether. If the temptation is too great, charge your devices in another room, or at least not on your nightstand.
Tip #10: Avoid Alcohol Before Sleeping
While alcohol may help you fall asleep more quickly, it actually decreases the quality of your sleep because it reduces the amount of time spent in REM sleep. REM sleep is your deepest sleep cycle, where your body repairs itself and strengthens your immune system. So with less time in REM, your quality of sleep decreases, and as a result, you’ll wake up feeling tired and not well rested.
Tip #11: Sleep In A Cool Environment
Have you ever woken up from a nightmare covered in sweat? A likely cause of this is actually because your sleep environment is too hot. Whether it’s the air temperature, or that you’re using too many blankets, if your body gets too hot, your brain induces nightmares to alert you that your body temperature is overheating. So keep the temperature of your room relatively cool, use light blankets and keep the room well ventilated.
Tip #12: Take Melatonin
Melatonin is the natural sleep hormone your body produces, and you can actually ingest it as a sleep aid. If all the tips above don’t help, this is my last resort. However, I personally don’t like this approach as much because it makes it harder for me to sleep the following night if I don’t take it again. But if I really need to sleep, I’ll take one. Your mileage may vary, I know people who take it all the time and never have any problems. These are the ones I take, Nature Made Melatonin Tablets, get the 3mg dosage. If you’re taking it for the first time, I suggest breaking the tablet in half. Even half a tablet is enough to help me fall asleep.
Final Thoughts On How To Sleep Better
These are my tips on how to sleep better, and I hope that at least one of them will help you fall asleep. Try them out, and if they help, share these tips with your friends! If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider liking our Facebook page to help us expand our reach and to keep up with our future posts! I hope you have a great night’s sleep, and for some more of our travel tips, check out these articles!