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Travel tip #5: Are you sleeping yet?

In our previous entries to Hart’s Voyagers series, we examined airport pre-check, administrative tools, internet tools, and rental car insurance. In this, our last entry in our 2016 Voyager series, we review tips on getting a good night’s sleep when you are traveling.

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How do you get a good night’s sleep in a hotel? Even if you aren’t next door to the ice machine or the elevator, many people find it difficult to sleep well when they’re not at home. IndependentTraveler.com gives 33 ways to sleep better at a hotel, including things to think about when you are booking your room and when you are checking in. Some of these include asking for a room that is midway down a hallway, on the suite level (if available), away from the pool, banquet levels, or dumpsters, and away from the parking lot. Ask if the hotel has blackout shades and what the pillow options are. Many hotels now have beds that can be adjusted for different levels of firmness—make sure you check for that and dial in your preferred firmness if it’s available.

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Rebecca Robbins, co-author of Sleep for Success, advises to avoid the three cardinal sins of sleep: stress, stimulants, and screens. About 90 minutes before you plan to go to sleep, stop working, turn off the TV, and put your phone in airplane mode to reduce stress and screen stimulus. And by all means, don’t have an alcoholic nightcap! Alcohol is an REM sleep inhibitor, so even if a drink helps you fall asleep initially, you won’t get the good, restorative effects of REM sleep if you drink before bed. Instead, take a warm shower and have some chamomile or other herbal tea to start to calm your system and prepare for sleep. Sleep with earplugs and an eye mask to block out any unavoidable noise and light during the night.

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When you finally crawl into your hotel bed, take at least three, preferably more, deep, slow breaths to help you relax and shed the day’s tension.

Gute nacht!

Bonne nuit !

Buenas noches!

Wherever you may be, have a good night!

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