From the constant hum of the air conditioning and permanent light of the TV to random traffic noise and glow of street lights, sleep is likely to be more disturbed when we travel. This is because our primeval instinct kicks in to protect us when we are sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings and, being more alert, we wake up more easily. Check out these sleep tips from our sleep guru Dr Neil Stanley to help you get a great night’s sleep when you are staying away from home:
Your hotel room should be a sanctuary reserved for sleep. Make the most of the facilities – eat in the restaurant, do any work in quiet spaces or lounge areas, socialise with colleagues or friends at the bar and only head to your bedroom when you are tired and ready for sleep.
Make the room temperature right for sleeping. Somewhere not too hot or cold, the ideal temperature should be around 16-18C (60-65F), so adjust the air conditioning when you check in to your room. If you can open a window that’s ideal as a recent study in the Netherlands has proven that fresh air helps you sleep better.
Reducing noise can really help, although many hotel appliances can’t be unplugged. To reduce noise in the room, make use of the “do not disturb sign” on your door to try and encourage people walking by to be a little quieter. Downloading a pink noise app can help mask sounds, as well as using earplugs.
Light is a signal to our body that it’s time to get up so it’s important to sleep in as dark a room as possible. If that means putting the room menu card in front of the standby light on your TV to prevent it blinking at you all night, or packing an eye mask, then do it! Many hotels have blackout blinds and curtains so use them.
Whether it’s a mobile phone, a laptop or a TV, you should avoid exposure to ‘blue light’ about 45 minutes before you head to bed. Blue light screens suppress the production of melatonin, which is the hormone your body produces to help you get to sleep.
Take time to get unstressed for bed and relax. Have a bath. Jot anything down in a notebook you are worried about or want to remember for the next day. Read a book. Listen to music. Sip a cold or warm mug of Sleep Well. Investing in getting yourself ready to sleep gives you the best chance of getting a great night’s sleep.