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4 Reasons You Can’t Sleep When Traveling & How to Fix Them

Imagine this: It’s midnight on the first night of your Orlando vacation. Your family and friends have all gone to sleep but you lay awake in bed.

You’ve spent the day getting to, and getting through, the airport, then checked into your hotel and grabbed dinner. Tomorrow will be a jam-packed day, full of park-hopping, shopping, and photo-opping. You know you’ll enjoy your time much more if you’re well rested. But right now, you’re more wired than tired.

Woman gets some sleep while traveling on a train.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

About 80% of travelers report difficulty sleeping while away from home.

World Sleep Day always takes place on the Friday before the March equinox. The day raises awareness about the importance of sleep and the effects of sleep deprivation. And the effects of sleep deprivation are never more apparent than when fatigue keeps you from living in the moment while on vacation or an important business trip.

Here are four reasons why you may find yourself up all night during your Orlando trip and what to do about each one.

1.      You’re jet lagged.

Time just seems to slip away when you’re traveling.

Sometimes, that’s because you’re having so much fun. Other times, it’s because you crossed multiple time zones to get to your destination. The resulting jet lag can throw off your sleep pattern so that 10 p.m. in Orlando feels more like 7 p.m., leaving you thinking of dinner rather than sleep.

Jet lag can disorient anyone traveling across time zones, but its impacts are typically felt more when traveling from west to east.

If your Orlando trip is less than two days long, sleep experts say the best thing to do is to stick as close to your normal schedule as you can while in Florida.

But if you’re staying longer than that, start tweaking your sleep schedule before you arrive. If you’re traveling east to get to Orlando, go to bed a little later each night in the week leading up to your trip. If you’re traveling west, do the opposite.

An app like Timeshifter can help you create a pre-travel sleep plan.

2.      You’ve suddenly changed your diet and exercise routine.

Vacation is a time to live it up. For many travelers, that means dropping a diet so they can fully enjoy Orlando’s amazing culinary scene.

Indulging during your Orlando trip is totally okay. But if you’re having trouble sleeping, keep a closer eye on your salt, sugar, and alcohol consumption. Suddenly increasing your intake of these things can affect the quality of your sleep. And be sure to drink water throughout the day. Dehydration can make it harder to sleep, but so can chugging eight cups of water right before bed.

During your Orlando trip, your daily step count is likely to shift, too.

If you’re in town for the theme parks or an athletic competition, you’ll likely get more exercise than usual.

While the benefits of being active need little explaining, a sudden spike in activity can trigger insomnia or an itchy “Disney rash that keeps you up all night. As with jet lag, a few practice runs can help you sleep soundly on your trip. A week or two before you head to Orlando, start taking walks around your neighborhood or hitting the gym each night.

On the other hand, if you’re traveling for business, your regular workout routine could be interrupted by long meetings and after-hours mixers.

Consider ways to stay fit on your work trip, like taking a walk at lunch or staying at a hotel with an on-site gym.

Gym at Rosen Centre. Working out can help you sleep better while traveling.

3.      You’re stressed about your trip.

Flight delays. Crowds. Deciding where to eat every night.

While there’s a lot to look forward to when visiting somewhere new, some aspects of travel are downright stressful.

Business travel often involves networking and wowing clients. Those in town for a competition feel pressured to fly home with a shiny new trophy. Even vacationing families can feel anxious, like they need to be on the go constantly to make the most of Orlando.

When it comes to alleviating travel stress, a little planning can make a world of difference.

For business travelers, this could mean coming to town with fleshed-out meeting agendas or talking points. Anxious leisure travelers can book their excursions and dining reservations well in advance.

All travelers can benefit from scheduled relaxation time, which could involve reading by the hotel pool, calling loved ones back home, or drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed.

4.      You’re trying to sleep in a new setting.

Homesickness is a reality for some travelers, even when they’re having a blast in a fun city like Orlando.

Sometimes, the littlest thing can set off a longing for home.

An expertly made dinner can still make you miss your spouse’s cooking. Your hotel may use warm light bulbs when you use cool ones at home. And when bedtime comes, you may struggle to sleep in a space that’s quieter, louder, hotter, or cooler than your bedroom.

Before your trip, make a list of your ideal sleep conditions.

Do you sleep best with a nightlight or in total darkness? Do you prefer your room warmer or cooler? When you go to bed, can you hear the low rumble of an A/C unit or the sound of cars outside? What scents do you smell?

Then, pack your bag accordingly. Depending on what makes your list, you may want to bring:

  • Earplugs or a sleep mask
  • A small nightlight
  • A Bluetooth speaker or comfortable headphones, plus recordings of the sounds you usually hear at night.
  • Essential oils that smell like your home or garden
  • The throw blanket you sleep under every night

When researching hotels in Orlando, identify ones with in-room thermostats. Then, adjust your guestroom’s temperature to match that of your home.

Rest Assured at Rosen Centre

There are many reasons why you may not sleep well on your trip. Choosing the right Orlando hotel can keep the tossing and turning at bay.

The homey guestrooms at Rosen Centre have everything you need for a good night’s sleep.

A guestroom at Rosen Centre, the perfect place to get a great night's sleep while traveling.

Our rooms feature cozy beds with plush mattresses, in-room thermostats, and free Wi-Fi that’s perfect for streaming your favorite white noise app. We’re within walking distance of the Orange County Convention Center and offer a free theme park shuttle, alleviating the stress of getting around town. And our on-site gym is the perfect place to keep up with your workout routine or blow off steam.

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