A woman walks down the beach holding a beach bag with a moon and stars on it

Did You Remember to Pack Your Insomnia?

I always look forward to vacation, like most humans. I was very excited about traveling with my girlfriends for our annual beach weekend a few weeks ago. I was having fun packing my new bathing suits, snacks for the rental house, and cute shoes.

But then I got to the “Insomnia Packing List” part of the process and immediately became frustrated.

What my vacation prep looks like

Like many people with a history of insomnia, I worry about sleeping in a new environment, especially if I am sharing the space. I try to predict what I’ll need in order to get good sleep and how I will cope if I can’t.

My vacation prep begins with multiple lists (to-do, to pack) so that I am not wide awake the night before, worrying that I might forget something.

A sampling of my packing list

  • Earplugs to drown out every possible noise.
  • Tablet and charger so I can read as part of my wind down routine. It’s also useful if I can’t sleep and need to entertain myself unobtrusively.
  • Medication just in case I really have trouble sleeping.
  • Eyeshade in case it’s too bright in the morning or there are bright lights at night.
  • Comfy pajamas for every possible temperature.

It’s getting to the point that I need an extra bag just for all of my sleep-related items.

Prepping my travel companions

In addition to my packing list, I also have a bunch of things to tell my roommate. I’ll warn her that it might take me a while to fall asleep and to ignore me if she wakes up and I’m on my tablet. I’ll encourage her to bring her own earplugs just in case I’m turning and tossing during the night. And most of all, I’ll apologize in advance for being an annoying roommate.

Being the only one with insomnia

As far as I know, I’m the only one in my group who struggles with insomnia. Several of my girlfriends brag (OK, maybe it just sounds like bragging to me!) about how they are typically so exhausted at the end of a day that they fall asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows. Several of them may pack more shoes than me, but I’ve got the market cornered on sleep-related products.

And that reminds me of how isolating and frustrating it can be to cope with insomnia. Healthy sleepers can’t comprehend the amount of planning that I do to get good sleep on vacation.

My planning paid off

I’m pleased to report that we had a great time at the beach and that I managed to sleep fairly well. There was some turning and tossing, and I did a lot of reading in the middle of the night, but I managed to get decent sleep without totally annoying my roommate.

Still, it was humbling to be reminded that managing my sleep requires more planning and thought than most people realize.

Do you have your own “Insomnia Packing List?” Share what’s on it in the comments.

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