Sadly, holidays do not automatically banish fatigue and induce a state of blissful relaxation. That might be true if you’re on a fully-catered yoga retreat on a sun-soaked island. If you’re holidaying with kids or your in-laws, staying in a busy resort or camping in downpour, you might need a little extra help to feel refreshed, relaxed and well-slept. Here are our top tips for making your summer vacation a sleep-filled success!
1. Be prepared!
Nothing can ruin a holiday faster than thin curtains, a scrawny pillow and a donkey braying at 5am. Having a few well-chosen sleeping accessories in your suitcase is the best insurance against unexpected sleep hurdles. With ear plugs, a good-quality eye-mask, and an emergency pillow to hand, you’ll be a step closer to good quality sleep wherever you land.
2. Get into a groove
We know holidays are a time for letting your hair down, but at the risk of sounding boring: don't mess with your sleep schedule. Or if you do, try to be consistent and at the very least get enough hours in bed. If your dream holiday is based on late nights and long lie-ins, give yourself a few days to adjust when you get home. An abrupt transition back to early nights and early mornings could play havoc with the quality of your sleep when you get home. And if you have kids, try to keep them on a consistent sleep-wake schedule too – a reliable routine is best for everyone.
3. Don’t over-do it
Surrounded by exotic delicacies, exciting bars and intriguing restaurants, it can be tempting to over-indulge. Unfortunately, caffeine and alcohol can both result in poor quality, disrupted sleep. How about enjoying a big night or two and keeping things low-key the rest of the time? Or having a few smaller treats over the course of the day? You won’t regret it in the morning.
4. Nap if you need to
If you’re staying up late or drinking a little more than you should, make sure you make time for a nap. Naps are great for re-charging your batteries and catching up when you miss an hour or two of sleep. If you’re determined to get up early to catch the sights or nab a poolside lounger, treat yourself to a little siesta later in the day. Just make sure you wear sunscreen if you’re snoozing outside!
5. And… relax
Turn off your smart phone (especially before bedtime) on the ‘out of office’ on your work emails (or set very specific boundaries about when you’ll check in), and try to switch off from your usual stresses and cares. If you need help, invest in some sleep-phones. They bathe you in music as you drift off, helping to lower stress levels and block out background noise. Even better, they’ll double as an eye-mask when you’re taking that well-deserved nap by the pool.