I will be flying to Bangkok in a couple of weeks and for the fourth night in a row not getting any sleep (3-5 hours). This is affecting my performance now, especially at work (programmer).

EDIT: I wouldn't say that I am afraid of dying more than usual. I never had problems with sleep more than one night before travel (or project) myself (I always take sleeping pills), but never 5 nights in a row...

That this is travel related is on a large part assumption, I just thought it was (I wouldn't think Xmas is nearly exciting enough at 33 to loose sleep over 😭) and that some other travellers had it too, and that it's a very much solved problem, so instead of suffering insomnia or starting with sleeping pills it would make sense to ask here first...

How to deal with pre-travel insomnia?

  • @JonathanReez Hi Jonathan, I don't really get butterflies, just wake up 2 - 4am fourth night in a row and then can't get back to sleep, just lie in bed, thinking of stuff (not necessarily travel related)... I am started getting heartburn from coffee yesterday, lol. I think questions are a bit as solution to my problem is likely to be different to one in dupe... Merry Xmas. Dec 23 '16 at 9:33
  • It's kind of hard to tell what your issue is. You don't seem to be excited, but are you terrified that you're going to die, are you stressed out doing all the planning, are you worried that you've forgotten something stupid? Also, seeing a doctor or at least a family member may be better than people on the internet. Dec 23 '16 at 11:36
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    I'm considering closing this question because we shouldn't be providing personalized medical advice. Dec 23 '16 at 11:38
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    @pnuts I've also got it, but in a lesser extent than OP. I can't sleep the night before going to a new destination on an airline I've never used before etc. It may be 'general' anxiety, but it is anxiety caused by travel, which more travelers may have (like me) who can share insight on how to deal with it, possibly advising to visit a doctor.
    – Belle
    Dec 23 '16 at 11:50
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    Change your destination to rural Tanzania: "Though the San, Tsimane, and Hadza often average less than seven hours of sleep, they seem to be getting enough sleep. They seldom nap, and they don’t have trouble dozing off. The San and Tsimane languages have no word for insomnia, and when researchers tried to explain it to them, “they still don’t seem to quite understand,” Siegel says." Dec 24 '16 at 1:59

I get anxious the night before I travel. Plain fear of what can go wrong. I couldn't sleep last night because I was worried my bag wouldn't fit in the compartments of this airline I've never flown with before. I worried about not having internet abroad and having to meet up with someone. Travel can be very stress inducing.

Well, what works for me is eliminating as many uncertainties as possible. Fly on an airline I know. Invest in a mobile contract that works abroad. Print out the map before I leave. Make sure I am in control. The more of these uncertainties I solve, the better I sleep at night.

Alternatively, you can ask a doctor for advice. Sleeping pills may be an option. But do discuss this with your doctor!

  • @pnuts no, it's very minor in my case. Nothing that what I already do can't fix.
    – Belle
    Dec 23 '16 at 14:20

Stilnox is an option. It's a pretty active sleeping pill. But be careful about dosage and dependency. Sometimes people take nyquil instead.

I try to be really disciplined about work hours vs. non-work hours especially when there's a trip where I will be working remote for the duration of the trip.

Try taking a day off before you fly so that you can run errands, do any research for the trip, but most of all just relax. Bangkok is a fun place with tons to do. You can show up and still have a great time without needing to plan anything. So don't worry too much about the trip. It's a really easy place to meet people too.

Hope this helps. Have a good time.

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    I don't think taking drugs should be the first advice... On the contrary, it should be the last.
    – Shan-x
    Dec 23 '16 at 9:40

Same way as with any other insomnia. Get a sleeping pill prescription from your medical doctor (there are many different kinds, which work better on different people). You can also use it in Bangkok to help with your jet lag.

Also if you do lots of travel preparations, such as research and booking, in the evenings, don't do this. Your brain keeps working full time checking whether you forgot to book/check/confirm something. Do all preparations in the morning; wake up an hour early if needed.

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    Doing your planning in the morning rather than before bed is good, but drugs should only be the last resort.
    – user13044
    Dec 23 '16 at 8:15
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    Sleeping pills are pretty much never the right answer to insomnia. Tolerance and addiction develop pretty quickly. Addressing underlying anxiety and other reasons, along with good sleep hygiene, is going to be more successful.
    – rhialto
    Dec 23 '16 at 9:13
  • @rhialto: this depends on a person, I've been using them without any issues or tolerance. This is why they have to be prescribed by the doctor. And yes, it is a pretty valid answer for anxiety-based insomnia if prescribed.
    – George Y.
    Dec 23 '16 at 9:15
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    @Tom whether or not drugs are a 'last resort' is up for OP's doctor to decide. Using (legal) drugs != bad and likewise Not using drugs != good.
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 23 '16 at 9:27

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