It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep when you’re away from home. From the clunk-clunk of the hotel’s ice machine to the unfamiliar smell and feel of the sheets, sometimes it seems like the universe is conspiring against you and your ability to get some much-needed shut-eye while on vacation. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some great techniques to help make your hotel room feel a bit homier, quieter, and more conducive to a great night’s sleep:
Eliminate Noise and Light
- Request a room far from the elevator and ice machine, as high above street level as you can get. You’d also do well to ask for a room not facing the pool. People often ignore pool closing times and their voices echo off the water.
- Use the bathroom fan to help create white noise, if you need it.
- Earplugs can be your best friend. Try finding ones that block out sound up to 30 decibels.
- Make sure it’s dark. Bring sleep mask and a couple clothespins or binder clips to pin curtains shut.
Make Your Room Homey
- Bring a pillowcase from home, as the familiar smell and texture will make you feel more comfortable. If possible, bring one with a pattern or a color other than white. If it matches the hotel’s sheets, you’re more likely to forget it when leaving.
- Bring a travel-sized linen spray to make your sheets smell like they do at home. Lavender- and mint-scented sprays are particularly helpful.
- Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. Take showers at your normal time, go to sleep at your normal time, etc. You want to try to simulate your familiar sleeping environment.
Pay Attention to What You’re Eating and Drinking
- Try not to eat a big dinner right before bed. Digestion can interfere with your body’s ability to sleep soundly.
- Treat yourself to a light before-bed snack or a glass of warm milk.
- Sip some chamomile tea.
- A glass of wine before bed may help you fall asleep, but more than that could have adverse effects, causing you to sleep less soundly and wake up more often.
Regulate the Temperature
- Air conditioning is not a given in all hotels, especially in Europe. However, if your room does have A/C, switch the unit to “On” rather than “Auto” before bed. When it’s set on “Auto,” it will click on and off all night.
- According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can, set your hotel room thermostat to around 65 degrees.
- Take a bath or shower before bed. Not only will the hot water relax your muscles, but it will also emphasize the drop in your body temperature when you step out of the bathroom and into your cooled room.
Be Mindful of Electronics
- Say goodnight to your phone and computer at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep. These electronics emit artificial blue light that suppresses your body’s release of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) and reduces your REM sleep.
- Check the hotel’s alarm clock. If you plan on sleeping in, make sure the guest in the room before you didn’t leave the alarm set. If you need to wake up at a certain time, ask the front desk for a wake-up call in addition to setting the alarm. This way you won’t worry through the night if the alarm will go off at the correct time.
Research Your Hotel
- Look for a hotel that prides itself on its sleep-promoting programs and amenities, like special mattresses, quiet light switches, pillow menus, aromatherapies, etc.
- Ask about any recent or current renovations. Aside from the fact that you’ll want to avoid the floors currently undergoing refurbishment, it’s worth it to book a room on a floor that’s already been renovated. These will be cleaner and have new mattresses and sheets.
Prepare Your Body for Sleep
- Practice breathing exercises. First, close your eyes to shut out any distractions. Breathe in through nose for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this four to eight times. This helps calm your nervous system.
- If you’ll be traveling to a different time zone, start adjusting your body clock at least a week before you leave home. This means delaying or moving up your meal and sleep times by a little more each day so your body is prepared for the time shift when it happens.
You’re now ready to take on any hotel room that dares to interfere with your perfect night’s sleep! The only thing left to do is plan that vacation. Get started now with go-today!