Turning your hotel into a haven and other sleep tips on the go

Turning your hotel into a haven and other sleep tips on the go

Sometimes it’s hard enough to sleep at home – but on the road – well, that’s a different story. If you’ve ever woken up at 3am in your hotel room – or never slept in the first place, especially on a plane, this story is for you.

Bring on the Zzzzzzs! I’m a self-proclaimed nap queen – I could win the Olympics of sleeping late – and personally, I never travel without my prescription Lunesta and a satin Blissy pillowcase and satin sleep mask.

Blissy is a 2021 Good Housekeeping Award and Best Bed Winner The best seller pillowcase is a completely natural and hypoallergenic silk pillowcase Formulated by a team of experts to do wonders for your hair, skin and overall health while you sleep. They are handcrafted and made from high quality 22-Momme 100% Pure Mulberry Silk to ensure the highest quality and durability. I love how a silk sleep mask prevents your skin from wrinkling when you put your face to the pillow.

When I’m driving to my destination, I’ve also been known to bring a body pillow and even a heavy blanket to my hotel – along with a scented room spray.

But here’s a pro tip.

JD Velilla is the head of the sleep experience at Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB), a leading sleep company with a portfolio of brands that includes Serta, Beautyrest, Tuft & Needle and Simmons. He is also a member of the Global Wellness Institute.

In his role, JD advocates and educates about the importance of sleep as part of a holistic self-care and wellness regimen. It connects the dots between the latest sleep science, product development, and the habit changes needed to achieve transformative rest.

A self-proclaimed sleep nerd, JD has turned his bedroom into a special recovery room and never uses an alarm clock. He wakes up every morning refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Why is it so hard to sleep on a plane?

It can be difficult for people to sleep sitting up — it’s not a relaxing position and puts a lot of stress and tension on the body. Additionally, sleeping in a public environment surrounded by strangers may not be comfortable for most people. And, traveling can be very stressful on the body and mind, which is simply not conducive to sleep. Unless it’s a long-haul flight, I often find that I can’t sleep and instead focus on 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted relaxation.

What can a traveler do to sleep on the plane?

Traveling puts a lot of stress on our bodies, so it’s important to keep your diet as close to normal as possible and drink plenty of water while limiting your caffeine intake. While you may not be able to sleep on the flight, try to give yourself 20-30 minutes to close your eyes and relax. Even 5-10 minutes of light sleep can be helpful.

What can a traveler bring to sleep better on the plane?

Create a personalized travel sleeping kit. My sleep kit includes an eye mask, earplugs and a travel pillow. For long-haul flights, I will bring a blanket and comfortable socks.

Any gadgets you recommend?

It really comes down to personal preference and individual sleep needs. For comfort and convenience, I’m always looking for something that’s easy to travel with. I regularly use Tuft & Needle pillows and blankets for my sleep routine at home, so adding the newly released travel pillow and blanket to my travel arsenal was a no-brainer for me!

Airplanes can be noisy, so getting some soothing sounds or white noise to mask unwanted sounds can also be helpful.

If you have trouble falling asleep on flights — take a moment to identify what’s interrupting your sleep. Are you too hot? Is the airplane lighting too bright? Can’t sleep without a pillow? Once you identify these annoyances, you can invest in the travel gear you need.

How can you turn your hotel room into a sanctuary?

The first thing I focus on is the environment. After checking in a room, I make sure the thermostat is set between 65-68 degrees, which is the recommended sleeping temperature. I also change the thermostat fan from Auto to On to ensure the AC system doesn’t turn on/off all night and give the room a constant white noise. Finally, I make sure the curtains are open before bed, which may sound counterintuitive – I prefer to use an eye mask while sleeping with the curtains open so I wake up to as much natural light as possible rather than waking up in a dark room. Finally, I always use some form of white noise to block out any noise disturbances.

Suggestions for better sleep in hotel rooms?

It’s about creating an ideal sleep environment and sticking to your routine, which may include exercise or meditation, and consistent meal and sleep/wake times. I also make sure to bring my favorite PJs – anything that makes me feel at home is preferred!

Which floor is best for better sleep in a hotel?

At least you should be high enough to be above street lights and other lighting that might enter the room and disturb your sleep. Another consideration is to stay away from rooms near stairwell doors and elevators. These high traffic areas can cause a lot of noise in your room.

What do you think about naps?

I’m a big fan of naps! Naps are a great tool to help give you an extra boost during the day or help you recover from a night where you couldn’t get the sleep you needed. But not all naps are created equal. Just a 30 minute nap can be a short but refreshing way to get through the next day. Isn’t that a great lunch? Don’t bother falling asleep. Instead, focus on disconnecting for 30 minutes or even try meditation.

How long is a good nap when traveling?

I recommend a 30 minute nap — but it’s important to make sure it’s before 2pm, I set a timer for 35 minutes which gives me a few minutes to sleep before I go into light sleep.

What can you do if you feel anxious after a nap?

We’ve all experienced the effect of waking up shy. With naps, it’s important to avoid entering the deep sleep zone. If we generalize this based on a 90-minute sleep cycle, then deep sleep occurs around 45 minutes. So our nap should be anywhere from 15-30 minutes at most.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep is essential to good health, many people don’t realize how imperative sleep is to their health. When you’re pulling yourself through the day after a bad nights sleep, you want to know how to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, the American Heart Association recently added healthy sleep to its cardiovascular health checklist. (And, for many years, luxury hotels and cruise ships have upgraded their mattresses and bedding to keep you comfortable.)

Sleeping on the rise in current wellness trends? Because this?

Absolutely! Every day we learn about new research about sleep and its role in our mental and physical well-being. I believe we will soon be in the midst of a sleep revolution as more people begin to prioritize sleep along with other lifestyle factors. That said, we still have a long way to go as many of us are still not getting good quality sleep.

How do you get up without an alarm clock?

It’s actually simpler than you think, you can do it in three steps. First, you need to establish a regular sleep/wake schedule to train your body to wake up at your preferred time. Second, I sleep with the curtains open so I wake up at sunrise. You can also try sleeping with the curtains open and wearing an eye mask if there is a lot of light in your room at night. Third, I schedule my thermostat to start heating the house 60 minutes before she wakes up. So my body gets used to waking up at a certain time and then I expose myself to sunlight and warmth to wake up as naturally as possible.

Do you think sleep/napping is trendy?

More people are realizing the importance of sleep, but many still don’t prioritize sleep over other activities.

Now go count those sheep!

For more on my Wanderlust travels, follow me on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.

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