Holiday Travel: 6 Things to Pack for Better Sleep

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image if items in suitcase to help sleep when sleeping away from home

The holiday season is in full swing, so that mean’s there’s a good chance you’ll be sleeping away from home sometime soon. Getting a good night’s sleep in a hotel isn’t always easy, and sleeping on an airplane is close to impossible. Luckily, there are a few items you can bring with you to make getting better sleep while traveling a possibility.

6 items to pack in your suitcase for a great night’s sleep

Make room in your suitcase for the following items, which will help you snooze if you’re sleeping away from home this holiday season.

1. Sleep mask

When you’re on a long flight, the key to actually falling asleep is blocking out as many disturbances—like cabin lights and engine noise—as you can. Putting on a sleep mask is one easy way to shut out the busy world around you. Here’s more on the science behind how sleep masks help you sleep.

2. Lavender face mist

Research has shown that inhaling lavender before bed increases the amount of deep sleep you experience. While you’re not going to be able to pack a lavender plant into your suitcase, you can stow a lavender face mist in your bag and spritz it on before hitting the sheets at a hotel or prior to your plane taking off. Cabin air is notoriously drying, so a lavender face mist (this is the one I use) will not only calm you, it’ll prevent your skin from becoming dehydrated on your flight. Find out about all of the sleep benefits of lavender here.

3. Socks

Have you ever been stuck in a hotel room that is absolutely frigid? The answer: a cozy pair of socks. A recent study noted that sleeping in socks can increase your sleep time by 37 minutes. Bonus points if the socks you bring with you are moisturizing since winter weather is seriously drying on your feet. Get more info on why sleeping in socks works.

4. White noise machine

Most noise disrupts sleep, but not white noise. White noise, sound that stays consistent across all hearable frequencies, helps shut down your brain so that you can fall and stay asleep. A white noise machine is totally portable, so it makes a great travel accessory if you’re at a noisy hotel where doors are slamming and elevators are dinging all night long. You can also download a white noise app on your phone if you don’t want to lug a machine with you. Another option: Noise-cancelling headphones. They’re great for travel, especially the tiny earbud versions. Learn more about the science behind white noise.

5. Melatonin supplement

Many doctors express concerns about natural sleep supplements because they’re not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and there’s not a ton of research backing up the validity of their claims. That being said, melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle, can be useful when it’s used to treat jet lag. Here’s what you need to know about using melatonin for jet lag.

6. Dried cherries

Tart cherries are high in melatonin, so it makes sense that studies have found that they have promising effects on sleep. Throw a snack-size pack of dried tart cherries into your suitcase (or look for a bag in one of the many kiosks you’re sure to encounter at the airport) for a healthy and sleep-promoting mid-flight nosh.

Here are more sleep tips for travelers that will help you get better rest while you’re sleeping away from home.