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How to sleep better when on vacation

How to Sleep Better When Traveling

Tara Youngblood · Feb 21, 2020
How to sleep better when on vacation

With the holiday season upon us, which means most of us will be traveling soon. While it can be an exciting time to spend with your friends and family, traveling and sleeping in an unfamiliar place can wreak havoc on your ability to get a good night’s rest.

As we all know, when individuals are lacking sleep, they’re often irritable and short-tempered, which is the last thing you want to be during the holiday season.

Vacation Sleeping Tips

In an effort to help you get a more restful slumber while on vacation, and inevitably have a better time with your friends, family or travel companions, we’ve created a round-up of some of the best tips to help you sleep more comfortably while traveling.

Recreate Your Bedtime Routine

Just because your scenery is different, it doesn’t mean that your routine has to be. Pack items that will help you feel like you’re at home and participating in your normal routine. Do you wind down by listening to your favorite music? Do you have a favorite book that you’re reading?

Even if you have a favorite TV show that you’re watching, pack those items to better create your normal routine and sleep schedule. However, as a company built around helping you find your best rest, we don’t recommend electronics right before you hit the sack!

Read More: Jet Lag; Understanding & Conquering

Pack Your Favorite Pillow

Much like re-creating your bedtime routine, pack your pillow (or travel pillow) to recreate your sleeping space. If you’re traveling, you’re sleeping space will most likely be limited to a hotel bed, someone’s couch or a bed that you’re just not used to. The familiarity of bringing your favorite pillow from home could provide more comfort than you realize.

Chilisleep Tip: If you can’t pack your cooling pillow, or can’t take up space, pack your favorite pillowcase. Although the pillow might feel slightly different, having your pillowcase could be extremely helpful. 

Give Yourself Time to Fall Asleep

Trying to fall asleep in a new environment can be tough, so give yourself more time to fall asleep, even if it means going to bed a little earlier. If you’re traveling across time zones, it can take about a day to adjust to your new schedule.

If possible, try to set your alarm to match the timezone you’re visiting so that you are well adjusted once you’re there. If you’re unable to do that, follow the sleep patterns of those in your new time zone and don’t go to bed until they do.

Find a Home Away From Home

If you’re traveling to a location where you’ll have to book a hotel room, consider all of your options before booking. In today’s rapidly-growing, peer-to-peer economy, companies like airbnb and vrbo are starting to take off. With these programs, users are able to book rooms, apartments or entire homes at their travel destination.

Not only will you find a great deal, in addition to avoiding hotel fees and generally higher prices, but you will also be able to feel more “at home” than if you were staying in a hotel room. In addition to following the tips above, this could help you sleep better while you are traveling.

Pack the Best Sleeping Accessories

In order to combat the “new sleeping environment blues”, make sure you pack the right accessories.

Earplugs, sleeping masks, cooling weighted blanket, and more are some of the best items to pack to block out surrounding light and sound. 

Bed Cooling Products

If you’re used to having control over your bed temperature, consider packing a cooling bed pad.  Each product is easily transferable and will quickly allow you to control your sleep temperature, and get a better night’s rest.


This is crucial for blocking out surrounding noise. In a big-city hotel, that could mean police sirens at 3 am. In a rustic cabin, that could mean a rooster. I don’t like to take ANY chances in a strange place, so I always pop in earplugs on vacation to keep me in a night of comfortable deep sleep. 

Sleeping Masks

Like noise, a new environment on vacation might not have the same curtains you’re used to at home. In order to block out surrounding light, I suggest a sleeping mask or eye mask while you sleep

Weighted Blanket:

When I travel, If possible, take along a cooling weighted blanket. Not only does this allow you to take control of my bed microclimate in a new environment, it’s also great to use on cool mornings! 

How to Sleep on Vacation

If you are unable to sleep in the new environment, here are some helpful tips to sleep better. 

Breathing Exercises

There are countless ways to get your body and mind ready for sleep, and breathing exercises and yoga are some of them. They can help reduce anxiety and stress leading up to sleep. Traveling can be exhausting, but also stressful. Below are a few meditation exercises specifically designed to perform before bedtime. 

Study:  Performing yoga can help with sleep quality, sleep duration, and sleep efficiency. 

Listen to Relaxing Music

Did you know that sleep can drastically improve the quality of your sleep? Music has a strong and mixed effect on the mind and body. Music can slow your breathing, lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, ease muscle tension, reduce anxiety and stress, and release hormones. 

Study: Music can improve sleep quality including chronic sleep disorders including insomnia. 


It's easy to pack Aromatherapy when traveling. If you're having a hard time falling asleep quickly, Aromatherapy can help with relaxation. Types include diffusers, clay masks, hot and cold compress, bathing salts, aromatic sprays or mists, and more. You can use them together or separately. 

Other Tips to Sleep Better on Vacation

Here are just a few suggestions you can try to combat the “new sleeping environment blues” when away from home: 

  • Cozy pajamas that will help you feel like you’re at home
  •  Favorite t-shirt
  • Cozy bathrobe, or slippers. 
  • Continue with your normal routine: if you typically feel best getting to bed around 10 pm, try your best to stick to that.
  • Pack the right accessories.

Final Thoughts

As the vacation season arrives and your travel schedule begins to pick up, don’t let your sleep suffer. Whether you need to pack specific items, recreate your routine or adjust your internal clock, you’ll be sure to sleep better when staying in hotels or the homes of loved ones.

Follow any of these great tips to help you sleep better at night while traveling and enjoy the vacation. 

About the Author

Tara Youngblood

Tara Youngblood

Tara Youngblood is ChiliSleep’s co-founder and CEO. An accomplished scientist, author, and speaker, Tara’s unique ideas are revolutionizing the future of sleep health by making sleep easy, approachable, and drug-free.
Learn more about Tara.

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