Achieving quality sleep away from home isn’t always easy, even when rest and relaxation are the trip objectives. Noisy temporary neighbors, unfamiliar surroundings, bright street lights, and uncomfortable mattresses can interrupt or prevent a decent night’s sleep. We’ve put together some tips for helping you prepare for a restful night away from home, as well as some places going above and beyond to helping their guests sleep.
Get a Grip on Noise:
One hotel that takes uninterrupted sleeping very seriously is The Fairmont Vancouver Airport. The Fairmont Vancouver may indeed be attached to an airport, but there’s no need to worry about noise from hotel staff or even from passing 747s. Their built-in “Quiet Zone” is on a soundproof floor and was designed to help travelers dealing with long layovers catch up on some shut eye. And during hotel “Quiet Hours”, many operations are put on pause for the Quiet Zone, meaning no hallway noise from staff. Just in case that’s not enough, they supply ear plugs and eye masks to guests, sure to save even the lightest of sleepers.
If your hotel isn’t well sound proofed, sleeping could be more difficult. Noise issues could be compounded for rooms located next to stairwells, elevator entrances, and vending/ice machines — not to mention other guests can make a ruckus at any hour (it’s also worth it to confirm that there is no construction going on at the hotel). Ask to be moved away from noisy parts of the hotel, and if that’s not a possibility, ear plugs or ear buds connected to a phone with an alarm are handy for taming unwanted noise.
Block Out Light:
The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino features black-out drapes to keep the night lights and the afternoon sun from a good sleep after any period of gaming. The rooms also use wellness lighting in their bathrooms that trigger melatonin to help bring on sleepiness, along with sunrise simulating alarm clocks for gentle, more natural waking.
Planning to sleep in? Not all hotels have blackout drapes. An eye mask can help; they’re inexpensive, and many hotels supply them to guests on request. It can also be helpful to request a room without a street lamp directly outside it or even a one that’s away from the street.
Personalize Your Pillow:
If you’re staying in New York, The Benjamin offers guests a “Pillow Menu.” The hotel also employs a Sleep Concierge, dedicated to helping their guests catch more Zzzs. Members of the team personalize accommodations to guests’ sleeping habits, and while they cannot prescribe sleep medication, the pillow menu should help lull even the most insomnia-beset guests to sleep. They supply luscious pillows from memory foam to a music pillow with tiny speakers that plugs into audio devices.
Bringing along your own pillow can be a comfort when away from home, as can sheets from home. A few years ago, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey, and according to their findings a good number of folks consider nice, clean linens to be integral to getting a good night’s rest. The peace of mind that comes from knowing who’s slept your sheets may help aid in peace of mind for easier sleep. Of course, it isn’t always viable to drag linens from home. A pillowcase alone may be enough. Conversely, this is another thing to ask the hotel about during booking: Some hotels keep pillows of varying firmness in stock.
Tame Unwanted Smells:
Speaking of smell, aromatherapy can be soothing and helpful for inducing sleep. The JW Marriott Los Angeles now offers a Nightly Refresh Program, which is essentially a complimentary turndown service. Service includes Revive Oil from Aromatherapy Associate, and The Dream Bar, which is made with ingredients meant to nurture the body during sleep. On top of that, the Nightly Refresh Program offers a wine sample from Treasury Wine Estates and a house collection of Astor Chocolates. A little wine before bed can help in the relaxation process, but definitely avoid overindulging, as too much alcohol can actually inhibit sleep (it is also probably best to save the chocolates until morning).
More Comfort Zone Tips:
Sometimes, it helps to call ahead to ask about the little things. However, what one might not think will affect sleep quality can actually make a big difference. There are a few things to check with the hotel before booking, and then just a few more to consider before checking in.
- Mattresses: While a sumptuously, poofy hotel bed seems like heaven to some, it can impede sleep for others — especially for those susceptible to back or neck pain. Worried about mattress firmness? Call the hotel and ask: Are they hard? Are they soft?
- Air flow/Temperature Control: The ambient temperature of your sleeping space affects sleep time and quality. A small drop in body temperature induces sleep (warm baths or showers also help facilitate this), so it’s important to check whether room temperature can be regulated adequately, as a room that becomes too warm or too cold is likely to result in waking up. Do the rooms have heaters or air conditioning? For those guests who prefer natural air, the hotel may boast beautiful, scenic views from room windows, but do the windows open?
- Room location: In hotels with thin walls, rooms near stairwells/elevators, vending machines, ice machines, or lobbies may be subject to more noise than patrons want when trying to get a good night’s snooze. Requesting a room in the middle of a hall, or at the end of a hall that does not lead to a stairwell or exit will likely result in fewer late night interruptions due to traffic from other guests.