Room service, the benefits of a daily maid visit, and even turn-down service: There’s much to love about hotel life. While sometimes it’s a decadent vacation, other times it’s strictly business. But one thing’s for sure: That’s not your bed. How can you ensure you get your best sleep when you’re away from home? We tapped sleep experts Kalle Simpson, the Night Pillow co-founder, and Dr. Taryn Forrelli, ND, Olly VP of Product Innovation, for their best tips to get a great night’s sleep when you’re traveling.
Simpson says the key to a good sleep game is consistency. “Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you should change your nighttime routine,” Simpson says. “Try to get in bed at the same time. Bring the same toiletries that you use at home, and practice the same rituals that you can recreate on the road.”
Exercise in the morning.
“The morning light exposure and activity can help your biological clock adjust more quickly to any time changes that may be interfering with your ability to keep your sleep cycle on track,” Forrelli says.
Bring your own pillow.
First of all, there’s simply the idea of sharing a pillow with numerous strangers. Gross, right? Pillows are also hotbeds for bacteria, germ, dust mites, and pollutant buildup. “After two years, almost one third of the weight of a typical pillow is from this buildup,” Simpson notes. “Hotel pillows, which may or may not be on a strict washing schedule, are extra susceptible. This can wreak havoc on allergies, sleep quality, and overall health since your pillow comes in intimate contact with your vulnerable face.” Instead, pack a relatively compact pillow—like Night Pillow—on top of your clothing in your suitcase.
Melatonin, an ingredient in OLLY Restful Sleep, is a traveler's best friend. The natural hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycle, it has been shown to reduce jet lag and promote deep sleep when taken as a supplement. “Take it 30 minutes before your desired bedtime,” Forrelli says. “Continue for three days after the time zone change, or as long as your sleep challenges last.”
Give yourself time to adjust to a new time zone.
A good rule of thumb is one day for every hour of time difference from your time zone of origin. “Your body may need a few days to establish a new sleep cycle, making it difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the desired time in the interim,” Forrelli explains. “Without sufficient sleep, it’s hard to have the energy, stamina, and positive mood needed to execute those action-packed vacation itineraries or in the case of business travel, a productive work day.”
Request a room far from the elevator and as high as possible from the street level.
Noise can easily disrupt your sleep quality. While you can always ameliorate the situation with earplugs, there’s nothing better than not needing them. “Avoid unexpected noisy disruptions by opting for a room further from the elevator and street,” Simpson says. Forrelli suggests always packing earplugs just in case.
If possible, get a room facing east.
The sun rises in the east, as you know. But even if you use the blackout curtains, the ability to get direct sunlight when first waking up actually helps you feel less groggy and more awake, Simpson says.
Turn down the thermostat.
You may not feel comfortable sleeping in the nude or going pantless when you’re not in the comfort of your own bed so Simpson suggests turning down the air conditioning—somewhere between 65 and 69 degrees. “Your body temperature has to drop two to three degrees to hit REM, so sleeping cool is important,” she explains.
Avoid late night laptop sessions in your room.
When traveling for work—or even at home—laptops in bed can be a common occurrence. But it’s important to keep your bed for sleeping and to carve out separate areas for work, Simpson says. She recommends working in the hotel lobby or common area and keeping your room solely for rest and rejuvenation.