Do you rest better on the road than you do in your house? Use your time away to fine-tune sleep-promoting habits, then take them home with you.
Vacations are a prime opportunity to catch up on lost shut-eye and improve your sleep routine. After all, you should be in relaxation mode and you probably aren’t on a tight schedule, meaning it’s a great time to experiment with how much rest is right for you. By establishing successful sleep habits during your time off, you’ll be better equipped to continue them once you are home again. Start with these tips:
Skip the Alarm Clock
To figure out how much sleep your body really needs, allow yourself to wake whenever it happens naturally while on vacation. Over the course of several days, pay attention to how long you snooze when you don’t set an alarm clock. Then use that total amount of shut-eye as a gauge for how many hours to aim for on a regular basis at home.
Find Your Rhythm
Depending on your circadian rhythm—the body’s 24-hour internal clock that regulates sleepiness, alertness, and myriad bodily functions —the best hours for you to sleep may differ from those of a friend or spouse. A morning person or a night owl will have an optimal bedtime that is earlier or later than someone whose natural rhythm is between the two. On vacation, listen to your body and try to sync your sleep times to your internal rhythms of when you feel most energetic or drowsy. Learn whether you’re better off rising early or staying up late—then figure out a schedule that accommodates your natural tendencies while still allowing you to get the seven to nine hours of shut-eye you need.
Move Your Bedtime Up
Vacation is a prime time to reset your schedule if you need or want to go to sleep earlier at home. To set the stage for earlier slumber, turn off all electronic devices 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to hit the sack. Next, move your usual bedtime forward by 15 minutes. After a few days, try moving it up by 30 minutes. Continue bumping it forward until you find the pattern that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed, not groggy. Once home, try to stick with your new bedtime.
Discover Relaxation Techniques
On vacation, a lighter schedule and more free time means you have the luxury of experimenting with your bedtime routine. To quiet your mind, try meditating before bed. Explore using aromatherapy to put your body and mind into a soporific state. Or try doing calming yoga moves before you turn in for the night. Keep track of which techniques help you reach a dreamier state of sleep, then take them home with you!