If you are planning a trip to Russia, chances are you’ve heard of the Trans-Siberian railway, which we previously featured here on the RussianBlogger. It serves as the backbone of the travel and tourism industry in the country, with travelers and train enthusiasts alike drawn to this famous railway.
One of the grandest and most impressive infrastructure achievements of its time, the Trans-Siberian railroad runs for a whopping 9,300 kilometers to cross 87 cities and eight time zones. While any traveler will certainly enjoy the rich history and culture that surrounds the Trans-Siberian experience, not all can enjoy the rigor of long-haul travel, especially with train routes running anywhere from several hours to as long as eight days.
A significant difficulty many travelers experience on long-haul train journeys is sleep, which can feel like a monumental task because of the constant movement, noise, and activity within the train car. The unfamiliar beds, sounds, and people can also hamper riders’ ability to sleep soundly, which can definitely affect the quality of their travel experience during and after the train ride.
To help you get some shut-eye while on your Trans-Siberian railway adventure, here are some helpful tips.
- 1. Secure your belongings
In its long list of recommendations for falling asleep fast, Leesa recommends putting your worries to rest before bedtime, so make sure important objects like passports, tickets, wallets, and other essential items are safe and sound. This is especially crucial for solo travelers, whose belongings are their only companions for the long railroad ahead. To ensure a stress-free rest, eliminate those security worries first by securing important items.
As a tip to protect your belongings, it might be smart to take with you a small bag or a purse with the valuables every time you go to the bathroom in the car. Also, make sure to keep the most important things (like passport, wallet, phone) close by during the night. In general, it doesn’t happen very often when people have things stolen on the trains in Russia.
- 2. Put your watch away.
Ever heard the phrase “a watched pot never boils”? Checking your watch often only gives you the impression that time passes slowly. Compounded with the stress of losing a sense of time from passing through several different time zones, it’s easy to get worked up. The Huffington Post explains that looking at clocks or watches when trying to rest only dials up your nervous system and makes you worry about not falling asleep. It’s best to forego the watch and instead get taken in by the journey, keeping the body relaxed for an easier time dozing off.
- 3. Open the window.
The Trans-Siberian railway is famous for the diversity of scenery it provides travelers, with train windows framing everything from the snow-dusted taiga to the Gobi Desert. While marveling at the scenery may seem counterproductive to sleep, in truth the monotony of passing landscapes can act as white noise, perfect for lulling the weary-eyed to sleep.
- 4. Watch what you drink.
Limit drinking tea and coffee to mornings only. Avoid alcohol too, especially within four hours before bedtime. Sleep expert Dr. Matthew Walker tells Time Magazine that it’s a common misconception that alcohol helps lull people to sleep, a notion that he describes as “profoundly untrue.” Although alcohol can cause drowsiness, it can cause you to wake up during the most important phases of sleep or worse – force you to go to one of the trains’ shared bathrooms on either end of the train car.
- 5. Keep comfy.
All classes on the Trans-Siberian trains thankfully have compartments with beds, saving travelers the discomfort of trying to fall asleep sitting upright. For example, take a look what the 2nd class in the Russian trains is like. Take advantage of the horizontal space and keep as comfy as possible with loose clothing, fuzzy socks, and earplugs to block out the noise.
Armed with these helpful tips, even the most sleep-resistant travelers can find themselves getting proper rest on one of the longest journeys in the world, guaranteeing a refreshed mind and body for the road ahead.
I hope you have an enjoyable time traveling by train in Russia!