One of the most important pillars of wellness - sleep! When you consistently get solid rest your emotions are stable, the mind thinks clearly, and energy levels stay up. But when you're not getting in those zzz's, life can be pretty miserable. Sleepless nights with thoughts spinning, anxiety and frustration can take hold.
Add in the component of travel when you're not sleeping in your own bed, new sounds, and different lighting, things can really get tough.
So, How do you break the cycle?
As I've traveled around the country this summer living out of the van and in other people's homes, I've picked up on what items best support my sleep.
Here are my must-have travel essentials for amazing sleep, no matter where you are.
Keep ear plugs and a face mask nearby
I first bought ear plugs years ago as a wilderness guide when I discovered teenagers snored too. Go figure. I started keeping a pair in my sleeping bag pocket and since then have a pair in the tiny house and van. My biggest lesson was not using the construction type that actually hurt to wear. Check out this selection of comfortable ear plugs instead.
Same goes for a mask. If I'm camping I just use a smartwool buff and slide it over my eyes, making the environment dark and truly supportive for sleep. If I'm home or in van, I wear an etsy made eye mask. Living in small spaces can be challenging when two people have a conflicting sleep cycles so I compromise with a mask to control my experience.
Becoming grounded and calm with concentrated plant-medicine is bliss. Taking a lovely swipe of a sleep blend essential oil roller across my back and neck before bed or diluting a lavender blend with almond oil and massaging my feet is the best way to improve your sleep. They are effective, affordable, small to pack and natural. Check out this article 7 Soothing Essentials Oils For Your Best Night Sleep. Also, you can watch my video Foot Massage Before Bed for step by step instructions of what to do. When you gently massage in oils and draw attention towards your heart you are practicing nourishing self-care.
Try a sleep app
Although I usually preach to put down technology an hour or two before bed, sometimes a sleeping app can really help right before bed or in the middle of the night. One of my favorite apps is Insight Timer. It has soothing meditations and live teachers, plus it's free. Our minds sometimes need a focus on a word, the breath, or an image to let us know it's safe to rest. When you're in a new place trying to sleep it can be an effective tool to use. Just make sure not to get carried away on the internet.
The most comfortable pillow
Living out of the van has its luxuries. My favorite is the bed and with it I have my favorite pillow to support my neck and upper back. This contour memory foam pillow is my go-to and I bring it everywhere (except camping). I also love cotton anything including cotton sheets and a cozy t-shirt when I snuggle into bed. Cotton allows the body and skin to breath and is soft to the touch as a natural material. Treat yourself to bedtime items with no guilt. Sleep accounts for one-third of your life!
Early bed time
I know, old news, but it's so important. When you go to bed around 10pm or earlier, energy levels are going down. The sun is going down, your digestion is slowing, and you are naturally less active. The day is over and it's time to go to bed. When you go against the rhythms of nature that's when you experience stress and fatigue that rolls over to the next day. Whatever you're doing in the evening that feels like priority, remind yourself it can wait and tomorrow is a new day. Sleep tight!