10 top tips to help you sleep better in hotels
When making a hotel reservation
Ask for what you want when making a lodging reservation because if you don’t, you’ll get what the hotel doles out and that is no way to sleep better in hotels. In my case, that means being pretty obsessive about requesting the following:
- A high floor, since there will be fewer people making their way farther up. Plus, if you are in a facility that only has two or three stories, ask for THE top floor so you can to avoid elephants overhead and thus can sleep better in a hotel.
- A quiet room. Employees at any hotel know which rooms are quiet. I once asked for a quiet room at a facility in Washington, D.C., and I swear I had to drop bread crumbs to find my way back to the lobby it was so out of the way. But it was quiet!
- A room not located near ice machines or elevators. People just forget as they chatter in an elevator that when they get off they need to revert to inside voices immediately. Rooms nearby get bombarded. And who wants the clatter of ice hitting a bucket outside your door?
Items to pack along
- A pillow – I don’t mean a big puffy thing, but rather a little extra support. I always pack along a small inflatable camping pillow – very lightweight and can be inflated just part way to add support to a flat pillow too. This is so key in sleeping better in hotels!
- Safety pins or other clips – And then there are those curtains in hotels that also gap open no matter how hard you try to secure them closed. What is with that? So grab that safety pin and fix ‘er up to shut out the light! No safety pins? Try a hair clip. No hair clip? Then pull the curtains closed and push a chair, pillow or lamp up onto them to hold them there.
- Duct tape or black electrical tape – Yup, really. The most annoying thing in hotel rooms are all those LED lights – from phones, the TV, the clock radio, the Wi-Fi router, you name it…. So wrap a little duct tape, black gaffers tape or electrical tape around a pencil, pen or bottle and just rip off a bit to pop over a light. I have also been known to save a luggage tags and stick them over an annoying LED like the ones you find glowing on the TV (Michael and I are in cahoots on that now!).
- Eye shades and earplugs – A given since you just never know what a situation will be. Don’t leave home without them is my motto. A piece of advice: Don’t wait until you are awakened at 3 a.m. by hallway noises to put in your earplugs. If you suspect noise may keep you from getting a good night sleep in a hotel, then put them in when you go to bed to avoid that horrible struggle of getting back to sleep, especially if jet lagged.
Make room adjustments to sleep better in hotels
Above, you saw how I obsessively run around a room to sleep better in a hotel, applying tape and pins (Michael admits to the same). There are even more adjustments to consider. Your room, your way, right?
- Throw a thick towel over that annoying clock with bright lights. Sometimes you can’t turn them off, or you don’t want to, so cover them up!
- Adjust the AC to your comfort. Annoyingly, housekeepers will adjust the temp to their comfort, meaning ice box level since they are working hard. Or the AC will default back to a warmer temp to save energy. Be sure to keep it cool enough to sleep well and that may mean a notch or two below your norm.
- Curtains not thick enough? We have also been known to ask for extra blankets, and then toss them up over the curtain rod to add more black-out to sleep better in a hotel. Especially needed if you are trying to get over jet lag.
- Single travelers, choose your side of the bed carefully. Often, the most convenient side to the bathroom or general access in a room with a queen or king bed is also the side most often used and thus the side of the mattress with the most sag or just a bit more broken down. Don’t forget to try out the other side – or even sleep in the middle!
Other hotel health and safety tips
Just being comfortable in a hotel is not enough. You need to think about your safety as well. Be sure to read Top hotel safety tips: Your hotel room safety is important. Health is also a concern when you travel and certainly when staying in a hotel. You will want to read Is it safe to stay in a hotel? What you need to know to stay healthy. Finally, we’ve all forgotten something important in a hotel room at one time. To prevent leaving anything behind in a hotel, read Never forget anything in a hotel room — tips from travel experts.