Close your eyes and picture your bedroom at home. The way the carpet feels on your bare feet; how the sun shines through the window at the perfect angle to wake you without beaming you in the face with bright light; and the path to the bathroom you could walk with your eyes closed. It’s great right? You know, day in and day out, that when you go to bed, you’ll have a pretty relaxing and restful night of sleep ahead of you. But what happens when you interrupt the comfort you’ve become so used to? Many people travel for work and have to adjust their sleeping habits often; here are a few tricks to continue getting the sleep you’re used to getting at home, while away.
Steer Clear of Rooms by the Elevator
The constant ding of the elevator as it arrives on the floor you’re staying on is enough to drive anyone a little crazy, not to mention the noise from other guests (people don’t always use their “inside voices”). To avoid landing in a room next to the elevator, call the hotel the morning of your check in and ask for a room away from the elevator bank and any mechanical rooms. It’s also a good idea to try and avoid a conjoining room, as the door between the two rooms won’t be soundproof.1
If, before going to bed each night, you have a solid routine of reading the newspaper, listening to some relaxing music, and drinking a cup of tea, try to keep as much of that routine intact while you’re in a new sleeping environment. Your body uses that time to wind itself down, and disrupting your routine while you’re away from home might also disrupt your sleep.
Maybe the curtains don’t block out as much light as you’re used to, or you ended up in a room next to noisy guests. Turn to a sleep mask and/or earplugs to block out the light and noise pollution. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the use of earplugs and eye masks results in more REM time,2 which is exactly what you need in order to wake up feeling refreshed.
Having a glass of wine before bed might help you wind down, but it can disrupt the amount of REM sleep you get, which is needed to clear out the toxins in your brain and consolidate memories from the day. If you still opt to enjoy a glass of wine at night, make sure to give yourself plenty of time before hitting the hay, and drink a few glasses of water for good measure.
Is there anything worse than hotel toothbrushes that are so poorly made that they leave bristles in your mouth once you finish using them? Make a conscious effort to pack all of the items you typically use during your bedtime routine. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, that includes your CPAP machine. miniCPAP devices are the number one-selling travel CPAPs on the market. They have the features of your bulky, in-home device, but they weigh less than a pound and are about the size of a soda can- small enough to pack in a carry-on and assure that you can sleep comfortably anywhere.
Being away from your normal surroundings can make it difficult to sleep while traveling. If you’ve been lying awake for 15 (or more) minutes, get up and do something relaxing for a bit (like reading, yoga, etc.). Once you feel sleepy, lie down and try again. If you travel a lot for work, sleeping in hotels is unavoidable, but having these tricks up your sleeve might make or break your trip!