5 Ways To Get Better Sleep Whilst Travelling Abroad

One thing about blogger press trips is that you’re expected to hit the ground running, no matter how many time zones you’ve flown across to get there. The itinerary starts as soon as you land, and so does the content! So whenever I fly long haul, I have a ritual that helps prepare my body for the new time zone before I’ve even arrived. I’m collaborating with sleep experts and mattress specialists TEMPUR®  to bring you my 5 step guide to better sleep whilst travelling abroad. Try them out next time you go long haul so you can make the absolute most of your time on holiday.

better sleep whilst travelling abroad in a luxury hotel room

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Before Your Flight

Step 1: Adjust your bed time and wake up times before you travel

If you’re really determined to combat jet lag and get better sleep whilst travelling abroad, think about making sleep adjustments before you travel. For 3 nights before your flight, try shifting your bedtime by 1 hour each night (earlier or later depending on your time zone). By the time you fly your body clock will have adjusted closer to the time in your destination.

Example; You’re flying to Thailand on Thursday. Thailand is 6 hours ahead of the UK. You usually go to bed at 10pm, but on Monday you go to sleep at 11pm. On Tuesday you go to sleep at 12pm. On Wednesday you go to sleep at 1am. Your body clock will be 3 hours closer to Thailand before you even board the plane.

Step 2: Pack an eye mask and ear plugs in hand luggage

We all know that a plane isn’t the easiest place to get some sleep, but these items can help to give you a fighting chance, and I never fly without them. The eye mask will keep you in darkness regardless of when the cabin lights get turned on, and the ear plugs will help block out any unwanted noise. You might also want to try a travel pillow too.

Ready to fly to Florida! I always take a travel pillow with me on long haul flights

In Flight

Step 3: Set your watch to your new time zone as soon as you fly

Don’t wait until you land to get your head around the new time zone. Get one step ahead and update your watch during your flight. If you arrive at your destination at night, you’ll want to try and stay awake for your whole flight. If you arrive at your destination in the morning, you’ll want to see your flight as the ‘night’ and try to sleep as much as possible.

Step 4: Minimise alcohol and maximise water

It sounds obvious, but avoiding alcohol really does make a difference if you’re determined to beat jet lag and get better sleep whilst traveling abroad. Because of the low barometric pressure in the cabin of a plane and the lower level of oxygen in your blood, you’re likely to feel the effects of alcohol sooner than on land. Alcohol also reduces REM (rapid eye movement) which is essential for quality sleep. Find out what happens to your body when you drink alcohol on a plane. Avoiding alcohol is one of the best ways to feel good after a long haul flight.

Top Tip: Water is usually rationed out in small cups on board flights and its nowhere near enough to stay hydrated, so I bring a re-usable water flask and ask the cabin crew to top it up for me. This also saves on wastage of copious plastic cups.

Get better sleep whilst travelling abroad on the TUI dreamliner

On board the TUI Dreamliner en route to USA

After Your Flight

Step 5: Be strategic about the first sleep in your new time zone

If you’re arriving at your destination in the day time, it may not be the best idea to go straight to sleep. Going to sleep in the evening of your new time zone can help you beat jet lag all together. If you are completely exhausted, try taking a 1 hour cat nap then see it as ‘starting the day’ again in your new destination. This is what I did when I flew to Bali and although the day felt so long, my body quickly caught up to the new time zone.

Mangos poolside in Bali. Get better sleep whilst travelling abroad.

Resting and recharging after a long flight at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, Bali

My Review of the TEMPUR® Comfort Travel Pillow

I’ve been testing out the TEMPUR® Comfort Travel Pillow and have slept on it for the past 2 nights at home. Despite being much more compact than my usual pillow, I was really surprised by the support and firmness despite its size. I’ve always loved a firm pillow and often find that plush featherdown pillows in hotels flatten down to nothing when you lie on them. Some of the amazing hotels I have stayed at have offered ‘pillow menus’, but I love the idea of being able to travel with a pillow that I know is the perfect firmness. It would be ideal for camping, long journeys and flights too.

How do you beat jet lag and get better sleep whilst travelling abroad? I’d love to hear your own tips, so please do share them in a comment below. Jess x

This blog post has been sponsored by TEMPUR®. All words and photos are my own.

coconut with a straw in Bali

Beating the jet lag with a hydrating coconut in Bali






Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

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