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We’ve all been there. You’re tossing and turning, working yourself into a frenzy because despite how exhausted you are, you can’t sleep. It’s a bad enough problem when you’re at home, but even worse while you’re travelling since every hour that goes by means you’ll be even more bagged the next morning, when you’re supposed to be out exploring this great big world!
Being no stranger to the side effects of things like jet lag and partiers in the hotel room down the hall, I’ve come up with a few tricks for getting a good night’s sleep while travelling.
Location, location, location. True for real estate, as well as hotel rooms. Set yourself up for sleep success before you even leave home by reading online reviews about any accommodation you’re thinking of booking, while keeping an eye out for any mentions of it being near a nightclub, popular restaurant or along a busy roadway. Miami Beach is a great example of a place where many tourists think they want to stay right along Ocean Drive on South Beach, before realizing the party outside their doorsteps literally goes all night long. This especially important if you happen to be travelling with kids who need nap time.
Once you’ve decided where to book, be sure to ask the hotel that your room be as far away from the elevators as possible. They’re one of the loudest spots as people are constantly going in and out, and chatting while they wait for one to arrive. Additionally, a room facing the back or a courtyard is usually quieter than one facing the street in front.
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Get in the zone
It’s safe to say jet lag is the number one culprit for stealing sleep from travellers, so salvage yours by trying to adapt to the local time zone as soon as possible. While it’s much easier said than done, avoid having a long nap if you arrive early in the day, and don’t go to bed until nightfall to get yourself on track.
If you feel yourself fading in the middle of the day, head outside to get a sunshine boost and fresh air to help clear your head. While it may be tempting to guzzle a venti coffee to get you through the afternoon, make sure you don’t overdo it as the caffeine could hamper your sleep efforts that evening.
Drown out the noise
Just because you’re ready for bed, it doesn’t mean the group of 20-somethings down the hall or a barking dog a block away is. Outside noise is one thing most of us can’t control short of finding a soundproof hotel room (fortunately that’s actually a thing!), but there are some ways to drown it out.
My top tip is to bring a travel-size sleep machine, which provides white noise which will help drown out exterior sounds and make you relaxed. Ear plugs also work wonders, and in a real pinch you could try playing chill music through noise cancelling headphones (both good options if you’re trying to sleep on a plane). Also check if your room has a fan, as the ventilation systems are sometimes so loud they’ll drown out other noises.
Create a relaxing environment
Set yourself up for sleep success by ensuring your hotel room is as comfortable as possible. Draw the blackout curtains or throw on an eye mask, put all of your devices on silent so they don’t inadvertently beep, and ensure the room is set at a comfortable temperature. Bringing along a favourite pillow or blanket can also be a big help.
Finally, stay away from eating a big meal right before bed or sipping sweet drinks, so you don’t wake up dehydrated at 3 AM.
Do you have any additional sleep tips to add to this list? Please share them in the comments below!
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