201/365 – Travelling and myasthenia: sleeping in dorms

Those of you who haven’t just stumbled across this blog already know how much I love travelling considering the amount of trips I’ve taken this year already. We are fortunate to live in a time when globe trotting is easy (if you have the money) and, from my teenage years onwards, I’ve wanted to see as much of the world as possible. While there are several continents I haven’t touched yet, in my 28 years on this planet I’ve visited 26 countries and been lucky enough to have countless memorable experiences both in and out of Scotland. One of the common factors of the longer trips away has been sleeping in hostel dorms or more generally shared accommodation.

From exploring the American and Canadian east coast at 19 to the recent experience on the Camino, I’ve had countless ‘experiences’ in shared dorms – some delightful and some I would rather forget. 

Since being diagnosed with myasthenia I have only slept in shared rooms a handful of times including this Thursday night (in Raasay House where I’m pictured above). This is usually because I’m on holiday with Elaine and  naturally prefer a private room. There are several other problems with dorm rooms related to myasthen

Read more about MG and travelling. 

1. Sleep deprivation caused by the inevitable snorer

Yes, there is always one snorer who keeps everyone else in the dorm room up. While it’s not their fault, the impact on someone with myasthenia

The other night in Raasay House the girl on the bunk below me sounded like she was hosting an ogre conference – she managed to rumble and gurgle at the same time. Thankfully my pre-bed whisky helped me to see the funny side. 

While it’s fine to go a night here and there without having the best sleep, prolonged periods while travelling could be dangerous for people with myasthenia. I’ve definitely found intrusive snoring to be less of a problem in small female dorms, but that isn’t helpful for men. If you can afford it, try to mix in dorm sharing with private rooms on a 1-2-1 basis. 

2. Get in early or risk a top bunk

The first beds to go in a dorm room are always the bottoms bunks. While I fantasised about having a top bunk when I was a kid, it’s less appealing now. I am lucky enough to still be strong enough to climb up to a top bunk, but I know there are many other people with myasthenia who would struggle. I’m aware there may come a day when that is the case for me too.

3. Hot hot heat or icy cold

I never noticed it when I was in my teens and early twenties, but shared dorms tend to be unbearly hot or freezing cold. Aside from causing issues sleeping, it doesn’t affect me massively. However, many people with myasthenia find that their symptoms get worse in either really hot or really cold environments. Again, the smaller dorms (4-8 people sharing) tend to be less extreme in temperature so aim for one of those. 

4. Keeping your medication safe

Some hostels/bunk houses have lockers, but many don’t so never assume. Even more than my passport, keeping my MG medication safe is my top priority when travelling. I always take it in my hand luggage and take it out with me if there is nowhere secure to keep it in the room. 

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