You know how to sleep well and how to fall asleep in under 2 minutes, but what good is it if you’re on the road or otherwise do not have the luxury of a good sleep environment? A simple sleep kit can be created for under $10 and will solve virtually all of your environmental-based sleep problems.
Here’s what I have in my sleep kit:
- A bag of high-quality earplugs ($2, or free on some airlines)
- A sleep mask ($2, or free on some airlines)
- A bottle of Melatonin ($5-10, optional, see note below)
- A journal (optional – for keeping track of dreams and pre-bed thoughts, if you so choose)
I keep all this in a little plastic bag and keep it in the outer pocket of my suitcase. Ever since I created it I have not had a single bad night of sleep, despite sleeping in hostels, in some of the biggest party cities in the world and on airplanes.
Note: Even though melatonin is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain, I think of melatonin supplements like the little cousin of powerful sleep drugs like Ambien. It may be over-the-counter, but I am still wary of using it. I frequently feel groggy when I wake up after using melatonin to fall asleep. What it is good for is those situations where you need to forcibly adjust your body to a new sleep schedule (especially in jet-lag situations). I also know some nurses and med-school residents who use melatonin because of the fact that they are forced to be on a very strange sleep/wake cycle. It is also important to understand to understand how the drug works (by inducing our sensitivity to darkness). If you decide to use melatonin, please read this article first. In short, it is great for ensuring that you can fall asleep when you need it – but relying on it is not a good idea.