Do you sleep well in hotels? Maybe that’s even too broad a question to be asking, or maybe you have a simple yes or no answer. Friends, knowing I spend a lot of nights each year in hotels, often ask if I sleep well in hotels and if I have any tips for them. It turns out, when I started talking with other travelers about this, many people don’t sleep well in hotels! That being the case, I thought I’d offer up some ideas and tips. As we all know, sleeping well, and especially when we travel, really is essential to functioning well and enjoying our travels. Hotels are unfamiliar territory and often offer us obstacles to sleeping well, so we have to be strategic and creative in order to get a good night’s sleep.
Many of us are hotel loyalists. And with each hotel chain, comes a certain bed type and mattress brand. Chances are you’re nodding your head and thinking about how you sleep better at a Westin on their bed versus at a Hyatt on their bed. It does take our bodies time to get accustomed to mattresses, so take this into account when looking at and booking your hotel options. You can also ask the hotel what their mattresses are made of. If you’ve ever slept on foam, for instance, you’ll know that these mattresses don’t breathe well. No matter how high you turn up your air conditioning, it’s likely you’ll still sweat and heat up. Cotton mattresses do tend to keep you cooler and this often leads to a better night’s sleep.
Make special requests! One time at a hotel in Hawaii, the mattress was way too soft. I asked them about this and they brought a plywood board up to the room and put it under the mattress. Something tells me that hotel often gets this complaint :) Some hotels have pillow menus so you can choose one that works best for you. If you’re sensitive to noise, ask for a high floor and away from the elevator. I know this seems like common sense, but we often forget things like this in the midst of planning a hotel stay. I even request certain room numbers at hotels I frequent. And I like a kettle in my room because I enjoy a cup of tea in the evenings. It’s all a part of a hotel being more than happy to accommodate our needs, if only we ask and it’s possible.
Winding down when you get back to your hotel room rather than going straight to bed is a good idea. Winding down without TV or checking email is an even better idea. This is part of setting a mood in your room for sleep. Sleep requires a cool, quiet, dark environment, especially in an unfamiliar setting like a hotel room. Use ear plugs if you need them. Enjoy a relaxing ritual such as a foot massage with oil. These days, some rooms have really amazing blackout blinds you can use. Also, don’t forget to check the temperature setting and keep it between 64 and 66 degrees F.
These are the three top tips I offered my friends. What are your top tips for getting a good night’s sleep in hotels? Let me know!