Sharing dorms, sleeping in tents, and napping on trains or buses do not guarantee the best night's sleep. Not getting enough well deserved beauty sleep can affect our concentration, energy levels and emotional balance. Here are my tips on how to avoid travel burnout and wake up raring to go…
N.b. If you're ready to plan your solo trip but are unsure how to do it, read my how to plan a solo trip article.
We know that travelling isn't exactly stressful but if you are constantly thinking about your next move, how you're going to get there and where you're going to stay, as well as the added worries of staying safe as a solo, you could find yourself more on edge than you should be. Reducing the anxiety in your life is as simple as going for a walk, taking some gentle exercise or being pampered with a massage. We know you can't relax in a hot bathtub when you're camping in a field but just getting out in the fresh air can help to relax you and wind your body down for sleep.
Follow a regular routine
Okay, so this is easier said than done when you're out until crazy o'clock each night but having at least some kind of routine, whether it's going to bed at 3am each morning and sleeping until 12pm enables your body to slow down into a comfortable state and allows your mind to gradually relax before sleeping.
Avoid Stimulants in the Evening
Our brain remains active whilst we sleep so avoid stimulating your system with alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. These can cause the mind to accelerate, making it difficult to fall to sleep and also lowering the quality of the sleep itself. Try to have at least one night without alcohol a week (and it's better for your bank balance).
Learn to Switch Your Mind Off
The frustration of lying in bed, tossing and turning itself can prevent sleep and cause unnecessary anxiety, so try writing down your worries before you go to sleep to alleviate them from your mind. Avoid watching television, before bed, read or meditate instead. If someone is snoring, try using earplugs or listening to some music on your iPod to relax you.
Only Sleep as Much as You Need
Getting too much sleep can be just as damaging as not enough. Once you lose sleep, you are unable to get it back. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night and everybody’s pattern is different. Only you will know the amount of sleep you need. Set yourself an alarm for the morning – not only will you have more sightseeing time during the day, and feel less lethargic, you may find yourself preferring your surroundings in the quieter morning hours.
Avoid a Heavy Meal Late at Night
Study your eating habits and have foods and drinks that will aid your sleep. Eating too much junk food can cause havoc with your sleep patterns and also make leave you feeling sluggish, so be aware of what you're feeding your body. Eating light meals containing protein and complex carbohydrates can help rejuvenate the body in preparation for the next day. We know you can't just make yourself a cup of Horlicks to take to bed but a cup of green tea is just as good.
Take a Power Nap
Finally, studies show that our bodies are designed to become more tired in the afternoon. A ‘power nap’ for up to 20 minutes can help improve stress and lead to more patience and efficiency (Einstein used to swear by them!) So, if you are feeling tired during the day, a short nap will work wonders and you'll be wide awake for your evening back on the tiles.
We all know that travelling fatigue can put a dampener on our enjoyment of a trip, so if your body is telling you to have an early night, listen to it and have one. It will thank you in the morning.