How to Sleep Better While Traveling the World

Many a traveler has gotten a bad nights rest while on the road and wondered how to sleep better while traveling.

When you’re moving from Airbnb apartment every week or month, you eventually rent a spot that’s just not conducive to sleeping.

Maybe the windows don’t have blinds, and the sun shines in at 5:30 AM every single morning.

Maybe your new place is right next to a loud club that blares music until 4:00 AM every weekend.

Maybe your neighbors act like dogs in heat each night, and you get to hear the gist of it. Que Pena!

Plus, you never know when an air conditioner will break, and you’ll be sweating all damn night.

Or you could have rented a place on a busy street and cars continually drive by making it tough to get decent shut eye.

It’s just not possible to always rent the perfect place. Every single one of the above scenarios has happened to me while traveling around over the last few years.

Luckily, I’ve learned a few things along the way. Now, I know how to sleep better while traveling the world.

Staying busy during the day is important!

The Realities of Travel

The reality of long-term travel is things will happen. Life on the road isn’t perfect. Your apartment won’t always look like the pictures. Eventually, something in one of your rented apartments will break down while you’re in it.

There’s only so much you can control when staying in dozens of different apartments and hotels each year.

That’s not to mention that you’re not going to find every bed you sleep in that comfortable. There’s just a lot of variables at play when you hit the road.

How to Sleep Better While Traveling the World: 7 Quick Tips

If you’re committed to traveling and living the digital nomad lifestyle, you’ll quickly realize getting good sleep is important, but it’s not always easy.

I remember the first night I was woken up by the sun at 5:30 in the morning in Costa Rica after a night out drinking heavily.

I was pissed – still drunk, with a bright light shining on my face as I tried to fall back asleep. I couldn’t get back to sleep for over an hour and spent the next day nursing a hangover from hell due to the lack of sleep.

I’ve learned a few things from those days. So if you’re curious how to sleep better while traveling, here are a few quick tips:

Always Be Moving

If you’re tired as can be after a day of exploring, hitting the gym, and getting some work done – you won’t be as picky about where you’re sleeping or what’s going on around you.

If you woke up at 7:00 AM and stayed busy all day, you’ll be ready to hit the sack before midnight – no matter the scenario.

The best way to continually get good sleep while traveling is to stay as busy as possible.

Learn more about staying in motion here. 

Deeper Sleep Supplements

I also take a few sleep aids before bed every single night while traveling. The best two I’ve found are Montmorency Cherry Juice and ZMA.

Organic tart cherry juice is filled with melatonin, which helps you fall asleep faster. ZMA offer minerals designed to help you stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

If you’re going to hit the road and are concerned with sleep, I suggested grabbing a bottle of both. If you’re only doing carry-on travel, you can get tart cherry pills that are almost as good as the real thing.

Read more about tart cherry juice.

The Fan

As I’ve started to travel, I’ve developed the need for white noise while I sleep. My preferred¬†noisemaker is a big industrial-sized fan in my bedroom. The fan makes a nice buzz as a doze off – drowning out any other noises, like cars or neighbors.

Now, my apartments don’t always have a fan, and I’m not going to make an effort to locate and buy one, especially in cooler cities. But I still want my white noise.

So I downloaded a fan app. I turn the app on every night before bed, and the sound helps drown out anything from the outside. It’s not as good as a real fan, but it still helps.

Ear Plugs

Sure, it’s basic, but it’s also helpful. Ear plugs making sleeping with noise much easier. If you’re hitting the road soon, you’d be a fool not to pack some ear plugs just in case.

I usually buy a pack of 28 and use them sparingly. They last me around a year. If I need them where I’m staying, I use them. If I don’t, they stay packed away.

Eye Masks

Another basic, but useful item is an eye mask. Initially, I hated wearing this thing to bed, but it eventually grew on me.

Now, I always wear it if my room has a window that doesn’t have blackout curtains. Eye masks also come in handy when trying to get some shut-eye on the plane.

You don’t need a fancy one. Just grab something like this, and you’ll be set.

Sunglasses can work as an eye mask, too!

Cut Back On Drinking

Alcohol makes it hard to get deep sleep. Just check out this study.

If you’re on the road and struggling to get a good nights’ rest, try laying off the booze for a little bit. A few days off the sauce and you should be able to catch up on the deep sleep you’ve been missing out on.

A Few Extra Carbs Before Bed

It comes as no surprise that diet can get screwed up when you’re moving around. Often, you may go to sleep on an empty stomach or forget to get the proper macronutrients throughout the day.

If I’ve been having trouble sleeping, I’ll add a few extra carbs to my dinner. Maybe some rice or a croissant. This typically helps me get to sleep quicker. Learn more here.

No Screens in the Room

It doesn’t matter where you are, the less electronic devices you keep in your room, the better you’ll sleep.

Just see here, here, and here.

Personally, it’s hard to break the habit of watching TV and scrolling Instagram before bed, but if I resist, I almost always get a better nights sleep.

If I need to turn my phone app on, I’ll bring it into the room, but out of arms reach from my bed – so I’m not tempted to browse away.

Dealing With All-Nighters, Jet Lag, Etc.

Part of the travel lifestyle is dealing with situations that hinder your normal sleep schedule. Maybe you get stuck in an airport overnight. You may end up traveling around the globe and struggling with jet lag.

Whatever it is, there’s a lot of situations that can wear on your body. One of the easiest ways to combat these odd situations is by taking Modafinil.

If I’m ever stuck in an airport overnight, I’ll always take Modafinil and work through the night. Sleeping on the airport floor isn’t all it’s made out to be.

Then I catch my flight the next morning, sleep on the plane, and wake up feeling A-OK. I go to sleep early that night, and my sleep schedule isn’t all that messed up.

Many other travelers report doing similar things while battling jet lag when arriving in Asia or Eastern Europe.

Learn more about Modafinil and travel here.

Read Reviews

Last, but not least – read reviews of any place you’re about to rent on Airbnb. Many Airbnb reviewers are committed to helping other travelers find great places to stay.

If they’ve had a bad experience, they’ll tell you in the review. I’ve read countless reviews where the traveler talks about how it was difficult to get good sleep in an apartment because of X, Y, or Z.

When I see a review like that, I instantly close the window and avoid booking that place. One bad review is a major deal on Airbnb. If you see something you don’t like in a review, find a new place to stay.

Solid Airbnb for sleeping even with screens in the room.

How to Sleep Better While Traveling the World

It can be difficult to get a good nights’ sleep when you’re on the road. By following the quick tips above, you’ll be able to sleep better and get more out of your travels. While none of these tips are revolutionary, the combination of them is sure to have you getting great shut eye.

P.S: This is my most important tip for getting great shut eye on the road.

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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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Calm and Collected - June 20, 2017

ZMA and a nice fan blowing in the background works great for me. My trips aren’t anything like yours in the third-world but I still use similar measures to get the best sleep I can.

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    NomadicJake - June 21, 2017

    ZMA and a fan are absolutely vital. I think every guy should be using both to aid sleep – no matter where they are.

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