Travel is a wonderful thing. It broadens our mind, it changes our perspective, and it introduces us to to a heap of incredible sights, interesting cultures and wonderful people.
Still, while travel includes a lot of highs, it ain’t without its lows. Particularly if you happen to get sick while on the road. Whether you’re living it up in a fancy hotel, escaping reality in a beach hut or embracing the outdoors on a glamping trip, being sick away from home sucks.
This is, of course, true for plenty of sicknesses – dodgy stomachs, mysterious fevers and even that travelers’ fatigue that can beset us all. But it gets even worse when it’s something that plagues you continuously, something that hampers your enjoyment of the adventure you’re supposed to be having.
For instance, a problem with your ears. It might be in the form of pain from the flight that keeps nagging you, or they became blocked and everything sounds slightly muffled. Or you might even develop an ear infection, which loud traffic and lots of dust and constant moving aren’t helping in the slightest.
These problems are annoying enough in themselves; but far worse when they start affecting your sleep.
Because as all the professionals will tell you, getting enough zzs is essential at any time in our lives. It affects our physical and mental health in lots of ways, but in brief: proper sleep makes us healthier, happier and more productive people; sleep deprivation makes us irritable, lethargic zombies who are more likely to catch every bug going.
We need our sleep to function properly at any time. And when we travel, when we need to stay alert in terms of schedules, potential scammers and our own possessions, we can’t afford to miss out on those precious hours. Not least because if we’re underslept, we’re missing out on the joy of being away in the first place!
So listen up: here are 3 ways you can relieve ear problems and sleep better while traveling:
1. Nip it in the bud
To prevent ear discomfort from turning into an ear problem, catch it early on. When you’re on your flight, make sure to yawn, suck on sucky sweets and swallow any uncomfortable blockages in your ears away. These actions stimulate the muscles that open your eustachian tubes, which can relieve pressure from building in the inner ear. You could also try an action that’s used by scuba divers when trying to “equalize” under the water: Pinch your nose, close your mouth and slowly act like you’re blowing your nose. Repeat until you feel a release of pressure.
By preventing an ear problem early on, you’ll land without any worries other than what cocktail to order!
2. Turn to tea tree
Tea tree oil has powerful antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties; as such, it makes for some pretty good ear drops if you’re on the road. Plus, the bottles are teensy…and you can even add a few drops to your moisturiser for glowing skin! Talk about multi-purpose, right?
When traveling, I always carry a bottle of tea tree essential oil, plus a bottle of lavender oil to sprinkle on my pillow at night… and I always sleep like a baby. (I smell pretty good too, if I do say so!)
3. Try some simple stretches
Often our ear problems are a result of too much pressure in the ear canal. Luckily a few exercises, like neck rotations, can help you say “so long” to the headache of an earache:
- Start by sitting up straight with both feet flat on the ground.
- Slowly rotate your neck and head to the right, until the side of your head is parallel with your right shoulder.
- Then rotate your head the other way, so your left ear is over your left shoulder.
- Next, raise your shoulders high up to your ears before relaxing them as you exhale.
- Repeat these steps any time you feel pressure building up in your ears.
This quick and easy exercise is accessible whether you’re out sightseeing, or on a long-distance bus journey, or in a restaurant. So you’ve no excuse for not doing it!
An added bonus is that it’ll relieve tension in your neck and shoulders, too. Bye bye, backpack pain.
Hopefully these tips will help your ears, and the rest of you, stay healthy while abroad. Meaning you can get a better sleep and have more energy to appreciate all those wonderful experiences that are right around the corner.
Enjoy every moment!