Let’s face it. After uploading 3,144 posts in the past nine years, it’s highly likely some of our past post topics may be repeated from time to time. It’s inevitable. Oddly, I recall old post topics and am fully aware when we’re being repetitive. But, I also realize that many of our readers are newer and may not have read those past posts.
Is today’s repeated topic of sleep relevant to our world-travel-lifestyle warranting discussion on this site? I believe so for the following reasons:
Adjusting to a different bed and location while traveling…
Many of us become accustomed to our own bed, having difficulty sleeping in a different bed from time to time. For us, sleeping in different beds is commonplace. In the past 14 months, most of which was during the pandemic, we’ve slept in 24 different beds, including hotels, on a train, near airports, on our private tours in India, and two here in Marloth Park, all the while considering the 10 months we spent in one hotel in Mumbai.
Until Tom did a thorough count this morning, we had no idea how many different beds we had to adjust to during this period of time. It’s no wonder sleep is elusive for us at times, which may be the case for other travelers as well.
Who would have thought that during the pandemic, we’d stay in 24 different hotels and subsequently different beds? Is there anything we could have done to lessen the requirement adaptation? Here they are:
- Asking for a sufficient number of pillows and any special pillows and bedding we’ve found can aid us in sleeping better. Tom needs three pillows. I need two flat pillows and a third used under my laptop while sitting on the bed working. Be careful if your laptop gets hot on the bottom. Ours do not. Instead, ask the hotel staff for a tray.
- Untucking the sheets at the foot of the bed. Neither of us can tolerate the tight bedding, which may prevent a good night’s sleep.
- Keeping a light on in the bathroom with the door closed or partially closed helps avoid that feeling of unfamiliarity that comes when awakening in the middle of the night in a strange location.
- Temperature control. We need a cool room in order to sleep. If air-con is not available, a fan is a must.
- Darkening the room to prevent awakening earlier than necessary.
- Noise control. If the room and/or surrounding area is noisy and you can’t sleep, ask to be moved to another room. Most facilities will comply with this request without an extra charge or hassle.
- Sticking to a regular bedtime schedule if possible. No, this is not always the case. At times, we’ve arrived at a hotel in the middle of the night, feeling wide awake from the travel commotion. Settling in after attempting to accomplish as many of these tasks as possible may be helpful.
- Sleep aids. There’s varying opinion on whether one should take any prescription or over-the-counter medications to aid in sleep. On occasion, we will use a local over-the-counter product, Somnil, when sleep is elusive, which in some countries is called Unisom. For those where there are Costco stores, the product is called Kirkland Sleep Aid. It’s also available on Amazon. Please check with your doctor to see if this drug is safe for you, your health, and your lifestyle. Dr. Theo, here in SA, recommended this product to us. We don’t take Somnil if we aren’t able to sleep for eight hours, since it can cause morning drowsiness if an early flight or appointment is upcoming. We have never used any prescription sleep aids, nor will we.
- Camomile tea and other herbal teas. Last night, before bed, I drank a cup of Chamomile tea that I steeped for three minutes. I slept almost nine hours last night. Wow! I feel great today.
- Relaxation and breathing techniques/videos/music may be helpful. Usually, when we have a lot on our minds, we have trouble sleeping. Being able to “turn off your brain” is crucial for getting a good night’s sleep. This breathing technique, 4-7-8 has been helpful for me on many occasions. For details and instructions, please see here.
- Not worrying about not sleeping. Generally, losing one night’s sleep isn’t going to cause any long-term health issues. Many times, we have flown on overnight flights, never sleeping more than one or two hours. Sure, we felt tired the next day. But after one good night’s sleep, we never give it another thought. Worrying about it only exacerbates the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Doing everything possible to treat medical conditions that may inhibit sleep. Lately, I have been covered in bites, like many others here in Marloth Park. I have tried dozens of remedies to avoid staying awake itching all night. The past few nights I wore long sleeve pajamas with tight-fitting leggings. I didn’t get any new bites and the fabric close to my skin seems to keep the itching at bay. I can’t say this will work for others, but it has helped me. Go figure. Whatever works. Now I’ve had two good night’s sleep in a row.
- Turn off digital equipment if possible a few hours before bed. I say this, but I don’t do it! I look at my phone, reading the news, and playing games when I can’t sleep. For me, I get bored and fall asleep. Doing this may be too stimulating for some and may contribute to poor sleep. Each of us is different. We continually strive to find what works best for us.
Of course, countless books are written on this topic and we all may benefit from learning more and more about sleep from the experts. But, for us world travelers, sleeping in 24 different beds in 14 months, the above is what has worked for us. Yes, we have many nights when sleep is elusive. We both try not to worry about it and look forward to the next good night’s sleep.
For frequent travelers, there is an endless stream of adjustments we must make in order to enjoy our chosen lifestyle to the fullest. Each and every day we do our best to ensure we’re feeling our best. Sometimes we succeed and other times, we do not. But, isn’t that how life is about anyway, regardless of whether you travel or not?
Have a great day and a great night’s sleep tonight and always.
Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2020:
|The scene we traveled in India on the Toy Train. For more photos, please click here.|