Global Hobo | Travelling Insomnia

Travelling Insomnia

Everyone’s been there. It’s 3am, and you’re annoyingly, inexplicably awake. You roll over left and right like a Turkish kebab, but in vain. The blanket of sleep isn’t arriving, and the looming anxiety of how much crapper the day ahead is going to be with each passing hour ensures it never will.

For some people, this situation is much more common than for others. Chronic insomniacs can be set off by any number of factors, but a change in environment, heightened noise levels and irregular bedtimes are some of the biggest triggers. Recognise any of these? They’re pretty much three of the recurring themes of a roaming hobo’s lifestyle.

Practising good sleep hygiene when you’re on the road is nigh on impossible. Sleep experts suggest a quiet, dark room, a temperate sleeping space, consistent sleep-wake patterns, and avoiding blue screens. A swish hotel room would, of course, be the ideal way to strive towards such parameters. However, the average hobo is probably much more familiar with their mate’s flea-bitten futon in an uncurtained, sweaty living room, shared with two snoring acquaintances after getting to bed at 4am.

Now, I’m not claiming to have hacked this dilemma as of yet. As I write this, it’s 5am and I managed just one hour of snooze last night. I’ve drugged myself with sleeping pills for the past two weeks in an attempt to work against my dorm room, the street noise and the Spanish heat. However, I will offer some suggestions that have helped me, however marginally, shuffle my sleep-deprived way through Europe thus far.

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When I’ve had a sleepless night, I like to think of essentially shifting my day forward by several hours. This means that 5am is morning exercise time. 6.30am is work/admin/sightseeing time.

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