People who travel frequently know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep on the road. Between noisy ice and vending machines and paper-thin walls, travelers face a variety of sleep challenges. While the best sleep usually happens at home, it is possible to sleep restfully at a hotel.
- Start out rested. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when the body is already deprived of sleep. Make an effort to sleep enough one to two days prior to the trip in order to feel rested while traveling. In addition, by starting out well rested, a bad night of sleep might not have as much of an impact on functionality the next day.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol. Alcohol can help you relax and fall asleep; however, research has shown that it also causes restlessness and poor sleep quality. In addition, the alcohol keeps your body in the lighter stages of sleep, not the restful REM sleep necessary to a good night’s rest. Avoid caffeine eight hours prior to bedtime in order to increase the quality of sleep. Caffeine can interfere with deep sleep and cause nighttime waking, making for less restful sleep.
- Use white noise. For travelers sensitive to noise, a white noise machine, smart phone app or fan can help muffle any street noise or sounds within the hotel that may affect sleep. If all else fails, earplugs can be used to block noise and are easy to tuck into a suitcase.
- Keep your room cool and dark. Experts recommend sleeping in a darkened room kept at 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, close the curtains and turn off all lights – many frequent travelers don’t leave home without a clothespin to hold the hotel room’s drapes closed and keep the light out. A sleep mask can also be worn to block the light . Also consider turning the clock around on the nightstand – sometimes being reminded of the time can make it even more difficult to fall asleep.
- Keep with routines. A bedtime routine isn’t just for kids – it is important for everyone ensuring a good night’s sleep. Stick to a routine before bed as much as possible while traveling. Prepare for bed by winding down, such as reading a relaxing book, taking a warm bath, drinking a cup of warm milk or decaffeinated tea or writing in a journal. Also, try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day. In addition, keep up with workout routines while traveling to maintain metabolism and ensure a good night’s sleep.
Learn more about Baptist Health Sleep Services.