Weekend Wanderer

3 Tips for Travelling Tired

If I had it my way, I would sleep 12 hours a night.

Can anyone relate?

All my life, I’ve been tired. My family mercilessly teased me for needing 10 hours of sleep a night, but I never saw this as a problem until my friends also pointed out how abnormal it was.

The disparity between their average hours of sleep and mine widened when I reached college age.

Prime example of me falling asleep everywhere. Even on my friends.

Prime example of me falling asleep everywhere. Even on my friends.

How did all these beings stay up so late? How did they function in class the next day? It was as alien to me as my 10 hour comas were to them. It seemed so wrong, this deprivation of sleep, and then I started to travel.

My first overseas trip was one of the highlights of my life, but it also showed me just how big of a “sleep-dependency” I have. At home, I have sleep down to a science: blackout curtains in my room, small fan for white noise, and a cool temperature basement bedroom.

Abroad I had no such luxuries.

After weeks of grumpy, coffee-and-sleep-deprived fog, I realized I needed to be proactive. I’m by no means an expert, but here are some tips that work for me:

1. Gather the right supplies:


Natural light can be a sleepers worst enemy. So can airplane reading lights.


Block out that chatty seat mate, or noisy traffic!

Do everything you can to reduce outside distractions to your sleep, especially if you are constantly drowsy like me – sleep is precious!

2. Take some sleep aids:


A well-travelled friend of mine recommended Melatonin for sleeplessness, as it is a natural, non-addictive supplement.

I used to bring Tylenol PM everywhere with me, but I found it left me too groggy the next day. This supplement might help your body adjust to the new time zone (or new pillow!) a bit faster!

3. Stay away from sugar!

Wait, am I serious??

Wait, am I serious??

As a self-confessed “sugar-aholic,” I love frequenting specialty coffee shops, fondue restaurants, and gelato shops. You can trust me when I say I’ve experienced a “sugar coma.” It’s worse than a crash, because my body just stops functioning.

Currently, I’m trying to wean myself off of processed sugar (it’s a TERRIBLE process.) because my body fights it every time. I’m trying to learn about Candida overgrowth, so my love-hate relationship with sugar can heal.

My health problems aside, I think this is still a good rule of thumb. Try to eat more protein, hard as it may seem. It will fill you up longer and give you the strength you will need to survive just one more walking tour, or your umpteenth museum of the day.

Whatever you do, or however you may struggle with narcolepsy, don’t let it stop you from travelling!

No matter how tired I am, I make it my goal to make the most of each day in a new city (especially since I get lost so much!).

I may leave exhausted, but I also leave with no regrets.

Sleep well, travellers! ~K


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