A good night’s sleep is essential to our well being, happiness and overall ability to function. Yet many of us don’t get as much sleep as we should. It’s hard enough to get proper rest when you’re in your comfortable home environment, it’s even more difficult when you’re traveling. I travel frequently for work. You might find yourself in the same position: checked in to a hotel after a very long meeting. Exhausted but for some reason, unable to get quality rest. Between the humming of the mini-fridge, the strip of light coming through the hotel curtains, and the noisy neighbors above you who must be doing jumping jacks at 2 in the morning, it’s no wonder you’re uncomfortable.
With just a little bit of preparation and some willpower (see number 1), I’ve been able to avoid some of the hotel snooze blues and wake up after my full 8 (ok more like 9) hours feeling surprisingly refreshed and ready to take on my day.
Here are a few tips that work for me:
- Avoid Alcohol – The allure of a glass of wine to help wind down and get to sleep is strong, especially when you’re away from your normal environment. Sure it seems like a good idea, at first, you snooze away quickly, but it is not quality sleep. WebMD suggests you “Nix the Nightcap” reminding folks of not only the restlessness that comes from boozy sleep, but also the harsh morning after.
- Make Yourself Comfy – One of my least favorite things about a hotel room is the unfamiliarity. Nothing feels like home. Bring something with you that makes you feel at home, maybe your own pillow, a trinket, or a framed photo of your loved ones. I also recommend bringing a candle or an essential oil diffuse with your favorite scent. I never can quite get the temperature correct in the room and hotel rooms almost never have a comfortable spare blanket, so I always bring a lightweight thermal sweater that I wear to bed. It keeps me warm and reminds me of home.
- Set a Ritual – I’m not talking about dancing around in the moonlight, unless you’re into that, I just mean a set sequence of actions that can be your special bedtime habits while away from home. They can be similar to what you do on a normal basis, but I suggest up-ing the ante a bit and making them a little special. My ritual includes yoga (of course), a hot bath with a wonderful smelling bath bomb, some Epsom salt, or even a fun bubble bath, followed by some hot tea. This is special time for me to luxuriously transition out of my day and into my dreamland.
- Turn the Screens Off – The screens that we’re so addicted to, our phones, laptops and TVs, emit light, a blue-based light that messes with our circadian rhythms. Our biological clocks interpret the light as a sign of needing to stay awake and alert, prohibiting the body from beginning to enter rest mode. As tempting as it is to jump in to that House Hunters marathon, turn off the TV, power down the laptop and let your phone recharge away from the bed.
- Yoga Nidra – Nidra means sleep in Sanskrit and is my number one go-to for a relaxing night of sleep. Yoga nidra guides the body to a deeply relaxed and restful state. You may practice yoga nidra as part of a gentle yoga class, the instructor guides a sensory awareness journey and then allows time to delve deep into the subconscious. There are specific yoga nidra prompts created just for sleep. These prompts still offer relaxation, but rather than a wake up cue when practice is over, there is a steady drift off into a comfortable night’s rest. I put on this YouTube video, turned my phone face town to shut the screen off, and get settled in for a cozy night.
Just like a great savasana at the end of a long practice, a good night’s rest allows you to recharge, rest and release the day. Sleep is essential for health, wellness, productivity and happiness. These tips don’t have to be applied only when you’re on the road, in fact, I know I would benefit more if I incorporate them at home as well. Are there any tips that you can add? What helps lull you to a cozy dreamland?