travel anxiety

Anxious Travel: How to Sleep When you Feel Anxious


Pictures by Bratty B

I’m jealous of people who can fall sleep easily. I’ve faced some issues with getting rest due to some anxiety and having a hyperactive personality. Sometimes I feel like falling asleep is a daily recipe I need to follow. A dark and quiet room mixed with gentle lavender and warm PJs are the best combo for me, but the world sadly doesn’t revolve around me, especially when I travel. There are frequent nights when my thoughts swirl to no end and I just give up on sleeping and watch movie trailers all night.


While I’m pretty easy going, when it comes to sleep I’m very sensitive. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. I was only able to get a few hours of sleep in the before visiting my favourite amusement park. I’d spend days at school falling asleep at my desk because I just couldn’t get to sleep the night before. People have made me feel like I’m being too sensitive, or like I need to ‘get over’ how I feel. It took me some time to finally accept that I’m not like most people when it comes to sleep and that that’s ok.

So far this year, I’ve slept: on 4 international flights, in 2 cars, 3 taxis, 2 bullet trains, 1 RV, 5 hotels and 1 chalet. From road trips to crossing the pond I’ve caught some zzz’s when travelling from point A to B. I can usually sleep through anything…the problem is the initial journey to falling asleep.

Keep reading for my tips on how you restless travellers can actually get some sleep every night (and a reveal of where I’m headed this week)!


Create a Routine

I’ve found that creating and sticking to a routine has been the best way to wind down for the night. When Caleigh and I were on the road this summer on the East Coast of Canada she was surprised that I did my routine almost every night. Whether we were in the RV or in the fanciest hotel in town, I whipped on my nighttime head scarf and got to work. Try to create your own routine and don’t be afraid to change it up as you go along.

Use a black out mask

This is not your average sleeping mask. This thing is made to block out all light with its adjustable elastic closure. On long haul flights, this is always tucked into my personal bag close to my feet. When I feel ready to finally fall asleep, I slip this on and try to drift to dream land.

Keep Warm


If my feet are cold you best believe I am not falling asleep or staying asleep. I hate feeling cold at night. It hurts my soul. So wherever I go I always pack a pair of fuzzy socks on my carry on or personal bag if I’m on the road. I got (and lost) these Heat Socks a while back and I'm going to get an other pair this winter.

Wear the right PJs

I am a HUGE fan of adorable pyjamas. I don’t know what it is, I feel way more put together at the end of my bedtime routine when I throw on some comfy PJs. If I’m able to have a long bath then put on some coconut oil I get super excited to wear my PJs.  These ones from Amazon Basic’s line, Mae, are my current faves. They’re a mix of shorts and a long shirt (weird but actually what I prefer wearing since PJ pant legs are usually too long for me) I can’t wait to rock the set when I visit Jamaica this week!


Block out the noise

Aside from blocking out light, I also like wherever I’m going to fall asleep to be very quiet. I love wearing sound barrier earbuds (a little easier to transport than headphones). These ones from Bose have worked to block out the white noise that I hate from my flights. Sometimes I find myself wearing them as earplugs when just walking about. I also love wearing these earbuds from Sony. While they don't stop all of the white noise I hate, the sound they give out is like butter.

Try Meditation

Before I go to sleep I usually meditate. Quieting my mind is the hardest part of trying to get to sleep. Slowly I’m learning how to control my thoughts. Lately I’ve really liked listening to various meditations in the audio book, “Easy Everyday Meditations” by Sue Fuller. Rema recommended Calm to me (I just haven’t gotten around to subscribing yet). The free sessions I’ve listened to on YouTube are incredible so far.


My last ditch effort to get to sleep (short of actually counting sheep) is to try a breathing exercise. One that works for me is a 4 second inhale, hold for 7 counts then exhale for 8 counts and repeat. If I’m tired enough, trying to focus on maintaining this cycle bores me enough to sleep.

Thanks for reading my tips guys! I felt a little nervous about sharing part of my journey of living with anxiety. But even if this helps only one other person, it's worth it.


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