How do I: sleep while traveling


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Since I travel up to 100 days a year, I usually travel at night so I waste less of the 24 hours.

Night time is often sleep time. How do I sleep on a plane, train, bus or car?

  1. Don’t drive yourself. I used to drive up to 40,000 miles per year almost entirely for work. Uber works for short distances. Public transit works when available for short trips of an hour or less. Carpools are great too. Buses and trains work equally well instead of driving yourself hours on end. Trains work well for trips under a day. Planes are great for long distances that take more than a day to drive.
  2. Noise Canceling headphones. Not the on-top-of-the-ear or in-the-ear kind, but ones that cover your entire ear. Sound can go through our soft ears, so cover the entire ear and reduce the pressure on your ears. These will drown out most engine noise and other droning noises. You will still hear muffled high pitched noises (like crying babies). These headphones are an amazing investment that is worth it if you travel or work in noisy environments like I do.
  3. Take off your shoes. You can wear socks only once seated. Your feet swell, especially in a plane. Remove your shoes and relieve that pressure to help relax.
  4. Wear a blackout eye mask. Unless you want to be woken up by any flash of light from streetlamps, lightning, laptop screens or mobile phones, wear it. You will feel the difference when you awaken with well-rested eyes.
  5. If you are not tired, listen to an audiobook or podcasts with your eyes closed. That may put you to sleep or at least help you relax. Do not read in the dark. Not worth it.
  6. Sit with seatback as far back as it goes. Yes, that’s right. That is what it is for. No shame, no guilt nor permission needed. Really. Place your bag until your heels unless you already have a better footrest.
  7. If all else fails, close your eyes with your head back against the seat.
  8. Breath deeply and slowly. Good night.


Tools I Use: Alarms

alarm clock icon-black on white

Many people have the challenge of waking up in the morning. They often only have one alarm. With a single alarm noise. Many of us get used to our alarm and eventually ignore the sound it makes.

Some alarms have a snooze button.

Don’t use just one alarm. You can have unlimited alarms at any time using your mobile phone.

Here is how to do this:

  1. Sleep enough hours for the next day: 3 to 9 hours at a time. Don’t stay up for the sake of staying up. That is useless.
  2. Leave your mobile phone in the room you sleep in. Set the phone on airplane mode. Not necessarily at arms reach. You know why. Hint: Don’t use the snooze button.
  3. Add ALL the times you need to awaken on your alarm and leave all of them on the phone for as long as you own the phone. So add an alarm for 5:00AM, 5:15AM, 5:30AM , 5:45AM, 6:00AM, 6:15AM, etc. Keep adding times all the way from the earliest to the latest you need to awaken. Even if you take naps in the afternoon or early evening. Some people much older than I use naps strategically during the day to stay on top of things, often after meals or in the late afternoon.
  4. Add a different sound or chime that will awaken you. Not all noises will be invigorating enough, but alternating the sound for every alarm within the hour is key. Use a different noise for 6 AM, 6:15 AM, 6:30 AM and 6:45 AM, but you could recycle those same sounds for 7 AM, 7:15 AM, 7:30 AM and 7:45 AM.
  5. Leave the alarm volume at the highest level before you go to sleep. The only time I don’t is when I am on a plane while traveling.
  6.  Plug in your phone to charge overnight whenever possible.
  7. Turn on only the times you need the day before. Usually 2 to 4 times ahead of the time I need to be up.
  8. If you have a morning routine, and you know what time you want to awaken on weekdays, just program those alarm times for those days.