It’s one of the most frustrating parts of travel. You work hard all year to take the vacation of your dreams, yet you spend the first few days tired and just, off. Your sleep is disrupted, you have difficulty concentrating on the great tour you’re on, you’re sluggishly pulling yourself from one sight to the next during the daytime, and feeling moody at night. You’re not imagining it: studies have shown that jet lag impairs decision-making, memory, learning and creates mood disturbances.
While jet lag may seem like one of travel’s most inevitable consequences, there are some great (and portable) tech solutions to recover your sleep patterns and maximize your sleep, both at home and on the road. Here are the top 6 best tech gadgets to help you address your sleep troubles while traveling and get on track ASAP.
Working with Steven Lockley, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine and an expert in circadian disorders at Harvard Medical School, the app developers sought to create a personalized approach to combating the issues of jetlag. The app uses your input, such as gender, age, the times you usually fall asleep and wake up, if you use caffeine or a sleep aid, and if you’re a night owl or early bird, to pre-program settings to help in shifting your rhythms pre- and mid-flight. Then it feeds you notifications on what you need to do, and when, to most easily adjust to local time, such as napping, avoiding light, drinking caffeine (if you already do so), or looking at bright light. They report they used similar tech to what the NASA astronauts used as well, and it’s even endorsed by one: “When I was an active astronaut at NASA, I used the same science-based circadian algorithm as Timeshifter is deploying in their app. When on missions, it helped me prepare for launches at odd hours, and to perform at my best on orbit. On earth, it helped me to eliminate jet lag when traveling to train in time zones as disparate as the U.S., Japan and Russia. I can’t recommend Timeshifter enough.” Sounds good to us!
Any type of activity tracker will be helpful when you’re traveling, but this is one of our faves. Not only can you see your step count and other daily activity, but you can utilize the sleep tracker to understand how you’re resting at night. You’ll be able to monitor one of the most important elements of your trip without even thinking about it (not to mention being able to show off all that exercise you’re getting). Sleep trackers are crucial to ensuring that you’re aware of how much sleep you get per night, how much time you spend in each stage, and even larger issues like snoring that you might want to take steps to fix (see below!).
While this might take up a bit of room in your bag, I, for one, would leave behind that extra sweater in exchange for a good night’s sleep. If you do snore, you risk how deeply your body can sleep and how many interruptions you’ll have, minimizing the effects of a solid rest. This pillow is made to cradle your head in a position that keeps critical air passages open, thereby reducing snoring. It also says it’ll alleviate pressure points, to promote circulation and lessen neck and muscle strain.
Dodow claims to make you fall asleep in 8 minutes (or 20, if you choose that setting). The portable device helps facilitate guided breathing techniques that will let you drift off, and it’s battery-operated, so it’s easy to set up without having access to a converter if you’re on the road. All you do is tap your finger on it, and it projects a gentle beam of blue light. That blue light will expand and contract for eight minutes. During that time, you’re supposed to inhale and exhale according to the expansion and contraction of the light. It then gradually slows your breathing to put you into a relaxed state.
Packing light? This is something you can take with you no matter the size of your suitcase. Sometimes it can be difficult to turn off your brain if it thinks the time difference should be keeping it up. Fortunately, the meditation app called Calm can help you relax and unwind from even the most stressful travel day. The intention behind the app is to put you to sleep before you reach the end of their sleep stories – and there are over 100 to listen to! The app is either $12.99/month, $59.99/year or $299.99/lifetime. But your sleep? That’s priceless.
For those people who have experienced significant jet lag in faraway time zones, you’re likely no stranger to going to bed really late or waking up really early with no success at getting on the right schedule. A lot of people get off schedule because of the long, and late. hours on tech they already own. One way to limit this is with blue-light-blocking glasses or using night mode on your phone before bed. But when you arrive at a foreign destination, excited for your trip and the adventures to come, it can be hard to shut down. Even moreso if you’re getting tons of “likes” from your “we’ve arrived!” airport photos. This is where Verilux HappyLight Touch comes in. To disrupt the pattern that’s been created, it’s been shown that people benefit from sitting in front of those super-bright lights first thing in the morning, By halting the production of melatonin that makes you sleepy and repeating the process regularly with the help of this tech, you’ll be able to better wake up and readjust your circadian rhythms.
On average, it takes 2.1 days for individuals to get their sleep back on track while recovering from a flight. A few preemptive things you can do on your own to make sure you get your trip (and your future sleep) off to a good start? Limit coffee, alcohol or heavy meals, stay hydrated, move around and exercise as much as you can on the flight and in your travel destination, wear blue-light blocking glasses if you’re working on a presentation late into the night, and take a hot bath before bedtime when you arrive to help your body temperature cool before bed.
Getting enough sleep, feeling rested, and combatting jetlag is a concern for the majority of travelers, and when you’re trying to enjoy your vacation, you want to put the need for sleep out of your mind. These six gadgets can help you maximize the first, and all the nights of your trip, to get the best sleep. They do everything from tracking your sleep cycle and resetting your circadian rhythm to monitoring your air quality and modifying your breathing. It’s not always easy to get the same relaxing sleep that you would if you were home in your own bed, but technological strides are now making it possible. Invest in some tools to help you get adequate and deep enough rest when you travel, listen to your body, and most of all, enjoy the journey.