Family vacations should be fun! Yet they are often full of complications, frustrations, and can be totally exhausting. Which is why we are going to share with you our tips on how to get great sleep during family vacations. This will help keep you and the kids happy and ready to enjoy your time together having fun instead of crashing. Stick around to find out how.
Looking to stay on a sleep schedule through the summer? Head over to our post Tips for Kid’s Summer Sleep Routine.
Create A Sleep Schedule BEFORE Vacation:
Some of the hard work starts long before you even book your vacation. Sleep loves consistency, the more consistent your sleep schedule, the easier it is to go to bed and wake up. This is especially true for children who are less in tune with when their bodies need sleep. Instead, they often run off of fumes until they pass out.
Long before you go on vacation, try to get the entire family on a consistent and cohesive sleep schedule. This will make it much easier to schedule your day, nap time, and so one during vacation. Having a consistent sleep schedule during your regular routine will make it easier to maintain while on vacation. Even if you get out of routine for the first few days.
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Bring Along Familiar Sleep Items:
Kids can often find it difficult to fall asleep in new and unfamiliar places. There are new sights, sounds, shadows. It can be overwhelming to try and relax in such a different environment than they are used to. In an attempt to combat this, we suggest bringing a few things that will bring home with them.
If they always use a noise machine at home, bring a travel one with you. Or perhaps their favorite pillow, blanket, or stuffed animal. Having these things that feel and smell like home can be incredibly calming and make it much easier to fall asleep.
Schedule Some Downtime:
Often when we plan out vacations, we try to pack every single moment full of fun and exciting activities that you know the family is going to love! However, it is good to account for some needed down time. Sometimes what the family needs more than anything is a night in the hotel with some pizza.
We recommend giving yourself some buffer time that can be put into your schedule as needed. This will allow everyone to get some rest and get ready to continue on later. This also gives you some wiggle room for if anyone feels sick, throws a tantrum, or gets hurt. This way you can have that down time to take care of everyone before you continue on with your vacation.
Be Mindful of Early Wakeup Calls:
Whenever you are on vacation, extra early wake up calls can be very tempting. There is a lot to do and early mornings can mean less crowds, cooler temperature, and more time to do all the fun things you have planned.
Just be mindful that early wake up calls can make for extra grumpy mornings and the need for extra long naps in the afternoons. While we always recommend sticking to your usual sleep schedule, we understand that sometimes vacations call for early mornings. We recommend making sure that you have enough time in the afternoon for a good nap.
Make Time For Naps:
If your kids are still taking regular naps, be sure that you are scheduling that into your vacation time as well. To be honest this is also a good idea for the adults as well. When you are having a long busy day filled with adventures, it will be much more tiring than a normal day.
Trust me, it will not be worth skipping the nap to get a few extra adventures in. Your day will inevitably end up with crying children throwing tantrums. It is much better to go ahead and plan for a break for naps and food. (For adults and kids)
Don’t Forget About Time Differences:
If you are traveling into a different time zone, be sure to be mindful of this when scheduling your day. Especially for children, it may take a few days to adjust to a new sleep schedule especially is it is a big change. You may need to take a few extra naps in the first couple days in order to adjust.
If you need extra help adjusting to a significantly different time zone, be sure to check out our post Get Over Jet Lag… Quickly. While if it is only an hour or two different, try to maintain your usual sleep schedule instead of adapting to the new time zone. This will make it easier both while you are on vacation and for when you get back home.
Head Back To Hotel Before Bedtime:
Time flies when you’re having fun. However, try to keep an eye on the clock or set a time for when you want to start heading back to the hotel or wherever you are staying for the night.
It can be tempting to stay out late to have as much fun as possible but if you are wanting to keep everyone staying on the same sleep schedule, then it is important to get back to the hotel for bath time and getting tucked into bed. It will remain much easier to get to sleep when you need to if you get back to the hotel at the same time every night.
Try To Schedule Your Meals & Snacks:
Not everyone knows this, but your circadian rhythm is greatly impacted by your eating schedule as well as when you head off to sleep. If you are not already familiar, your circadian rhythm is your bodies internal clock. It regulates different things in the brain like when you should eat, go to sleep, and wake up in the morning.
If you always have lunch at 1pm at home, make sure you are prepared to eat around that time during your vacation. This is not only a good way to keep your kids from having a meltdown, but also helps avoid hangry parents and teens also. If you can, try to have snacks readily available to keep hunger at bay. This can be a life saver if you have a hangry family.
Block Out Unfamiliar Sounds:
Whether or not you use white noise machines at home, they can be very helpful tools to bring with you on vacation. Hotels are often full of distracting noises. Loud people laughing down the hall or a neighbor who sings first thing in the morning. Even simple disruptions like an unfamiliar clinking noise from an AC unit can be distracting enough to keep you awake. Noise machines do a great job at cutting out those noises so you can rest peacefully.
If you have a baby we highly recommend a noise canceling hat like the Hush Hats. These clever little hats help your little one to block out loud noises so they can rest peacefully even in a crowded restaurant. Blocking out unfamiliar sounds can be a good way for kids and adults to sleep more comfortably in a new environment.
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Family Vacation Sleep Tips – Final Thoughts:
Family vacations are all about having a lot of fun, planning out enough time to get great sleep will help everyone to have as much fun as possible. Lacking sleep often leads to very grumpy family members and can ruin your whole holiday. We hope these tips helps you to get the very most out of your next vacation and keep everyone feeling happy and full of energy to enjoy your time together.
Have something you would like to ask us? No problem! Head over to our Contact Us page and send us a message. We would love to help you out anyway we can.