When you’re planning a trip, you focus more on the activities you want to do and the things you want to see, rather than getting a good night’s sleep. But, you should really take your sleeping conditions into consideration. Sleep is one of the things that can be most disrupted while traveling, and one of the most important things to get enough of. Nothing cramps vacation style quite like a groggy, foggy, sleepy (even worse, jet-lagged!) brain.
We’ve rounded up 10 travel sleep essentials to help you cash in on those much needed Z’s so you can crush your next adventure bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
1. An acupressure pillow/mat
Sure, they may look weird (and a little painful), but acupressure mats have been clinically tested to prove that they improve sleep quality — among a host of other benefits. This travel-size option from Spoonk is multi-purpose, so you can use it as a mat or a pillow. Also, it’s TSA carry-on approved.
2. A door stopper
This little addition to your suitcase can help you feel more secure in an unfamiliar place. A standard door stopper, like this one from Amazon, is compatible with most door types and acts as another form of entry deterrent in addition to a lock or chain lock. An added sense of security can definitely help you sleep more soundly at night.
3. Essential oils and travel essential oil diffuser
Essential oils — particularly grounding, calming scents like lavender, chamomile, palo santo — have been said to decrease anxiety and improve sleep, making them a great addition to your toiletry kit.
This compact, battery-powered, travel-friendly essential oil diffuser from Young Living can turn any space into an aromatherapy oasis. Just be sure to get the approval from fellow travelers if you’re sharing said space (some might not find the scent of patchouli as relaxing as you do).
4. A night light
In a similar vein to the door stopper, a night light can give you peace of mind in an unfamiliar place. It can also save you from turning on a bright overhead light if you wake in the middle of the night, and need to navigate a different bedroom layout.
5. A sleep sack
If airplane seats, hotel/hostel/motel beds skeeve you out, then a sleep sack might be just what you need to sleep through the night without thinking about what the bed you’re lying in has seen before your arrival. It’s like a sleeping bag, but simpler, lighter, and more compact. The sleep sack acts like a barrier between you and whatever you’re sleeping on, or in, to keep you germ-free and comfortable. Sea to Summit produces these with different specificities: to remain cool, to keep warm, to ward off insects, etc.
6. A good book
It’s a pretty conventional choice, but books are a great way to unwind before bed. Swap out the screen, folks.
7. A yoga mat
A good pre-bed or pre-flight stretch, yoga, or meditation can help relax your body and your mind, and get you ready for sleep, or a great nap at 30,000 feet. Yoga mats can be a little tricky to travel with, but this Hugger Mugger mat is thin and easy to fold into a suitcase without taking up too much space.
8. A gravity blanket
It may not be the most ideal flying companion — it’ll add at least 15 pounds to your gear — but restless, anxious, or easily-stressed travelers might find it worth the extra muscle. Gravity blankets are weighted blankets that claim to reduce stress levels and help ease people into sleep faster. They also claim to help people fall into a deeper, more restful, sleep.
9. A sound machine
Drown out traffic noise, noise from hotel neighbors, or just add a soothing sound to a quiet night. Sound machines are like the adult version of a nighttime lullaby; they’ll help send you off into dreamland to the sounds of ocean waves crashing.
10. A comfort from home
Bring something that’s part of your sleep routine at home (like your favorite blanket, pillow, bedtime snack, stuffed animal, sheet mask, or PJ set). Those familiar things that help you get to sleep at home can be just as effective when you’re away.