Sleep, a Travel Basic

Grown-ups want to “sleep like a baby,” youngsters have to. Quality sleep is one of the most basic tenets of wellness and one of the most organic ways to renew our bodies and minds. Parents, especially those who feel stressed while traveling, need their children to sleep well because avoiding sleep deprivation is absolutely essential for little ones. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the best ways to avoid traveling with a cranky (or crying) child. While there’s no guarantee kids will drop off to dreamland, experts consider these tips useful ideas that work for sleep.

Try to Mimic an At-Home Schedule

Try to follow whatever eat, nap, sleep, play, bath, reading time routine with which your kids are familiar, whenever possible. Whatever the time zone, at bedtime, slip the kids into pajamas, read a story, watch an appropriately serene movie, listen to a calming podcast or sing a favorite quiet tune.

Skillfully Select Food, Drink

The weight loss adage, “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper,” is just as applicable for sleeping well, especially while traveling. Dr. Paul Tchao, board certified in internal medicine and a member of Stony Brook University School of Medicine’s teaching staff, counsels against eating certain foods late in the day. “Avoid rich, fatty, fried or spicy foods, citrus fruits and carbonated drinks in the evening because they can trigger indigestion.” He advises parents make these substitutions four to six hours before bedtime. WebMD states food items that contain the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan have a comforting effect. Turkey, chicken, meat, cheese, fish, eggs and yogurt all qualify and most are easily transported, even on flights. One caveat: The TSA may consider yogurt a liquid, so buy that at the airport.  

Create a Serene Sleeping Space EA

There’s usually more room for a child to stretch out in a car or on a train, but creating serenity is doable on an airplane. Even kids too young for eye masks, earplugs or headsets might respond to sleep bracelets, which stimulate acupressure. And, they can bury their heads in a small organic pillow, perhaps one sprayed with a sleep-inducing lavender mist. As for sleeping with their ever-present electronic device, consider the National Sleep Foundation’s warning: “Careful studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness.”

Schedule an Exercise Activity

Exercise is great for physical health and helps the body get the rest it needs. Stopping a car at a rest stop to walk, run or do some exercises is advisable; in an airport, there are long hallways to walk, even planes have aisles. Timing is key. Dr. Alan Blum of Premier Sleep Center in Lynbrook, New York, recommends exercising at least three hours before bedtime to give the body temperature and metabolism an opportunity to drop.” Pre-boarding is the ideal time to work out together.