Travel Tips: How to Sleep Better in a Hotel

27 Travel Tips to Rest Easier During Your Next Trip

One of the biggest challenges in frequent travel is constantly changing sleeping arrangements. While a good night’s sleep cannot be promised, there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of successfully enjoying a restful night of sleep during your next hotel stay.

Do Some Research

  • Use TripAdvisor, or another similar travel site, before you book the room.
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    Google Map showing multiple Marriott Properties in Austin, Texas.

    Simply booking a room with your preferred hotel chain does not guarantee you will sleep well. Read some good and some bad reviews (a one-time traveler may be okay with something that a seasoned traveler finds unacceptable). You may even find a travel tip within the review to avoid a bad night of sleep (such as request a room on the west side of the building to avoid the midnight train that goes by the east side).

  • Look at the location of your hotel on Google Maps. Hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton often have multiple properties in the same vicinity. Perhaps you can avoid highway noise by staying at Springhill Suites a few blocks off the highway instead of a Courtyard right next to it. Both will give you the same credit with Marriott, and one may offer a better night of sleep.
  • If you are staying at a budget friendly hotel, make sure you are fully aware of the quality of the hotel room and bed. Is saving $30 worth a poor night of sleep?

Ask Questions When You Check-In

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Hotel Pillow Menu Photo by @AaronLeon22 on Instagram
  • If you plan to request a quiet room during check-in, do not assume the front desk clerk will know which rooms are quiet. Make your request specific by asking for a room that is:
    • Away from the elevator, stairs and ice machine.
    • Not facing the highway/ interstate/loud intersection/pool.
    • On a floor higher than the lobby (if a concierge level is available, it may be worth paying for)
    • Not above or below (or near) a hotel restaurant, bar, or banquet room.
    • Not next to guests with little kids or babies.
  • Ask if the hotel has been recently remodeled (unless you are sure it is new). If there has been a recent remodel, request a room in the remodeled section.
  • Inquire about pillow options. You may wait until you get to your room and give the pillows a try. Many hotels offer a pillow menu, do not be afraid to take advantage of this amenity!
  • Before you unpack your items, sit for a few minutes of silence. If you can hear the ice machine or another noise that may keep you awake later, request to be moved.

Packing List for Better Sleep

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Travel tip: Put a sleeping mask on your packing list.
  • Ear plugs– take up little room and can be a major help if you end up in a noisy room.
  • Sleep mask– make sure you buy a decent one and give it a test nap at home to make sure it will actually block out light and not leave imprints on your face.
  • Small bottle of lavender linen spray– use it at home and during travel so your sheets will smell the same at home and on the road. If you do not have room for any more liquids, pack along a USB diffuser or scented plug in.
  • Chamomile tea- WebMD offers chamomile as a natural sleep aid. Just don’t drink too much tea before bedtime or your bladder will be waking you up before your alarm.
  • White noise app- download a white noise app so you can block out unexpected noise. Just as suggested with the sleep mask, try it during a test nap at home (when there is noise outside or inside to block out).
  • Binder Clips- these are great if your curtains do not quite stay closed and you want to block out light.

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Establish a Bedtime Routine

travel tips, sleep better in a hotel room, business travel life 2Travel tip: Read a book before bedtime.

  • Try to maintain the same sleeping routine you have at home when you are on the road.
  • If you need to work before bed, do not use your laptop in bed. Sit at the desk in your room.
  • Take a warm bath. A study found the temperature changes caused by taking a bath before bed can increase sleepiness and improve the quality of sleep.
  • Put the electronics away before bedtime. You likely know playing Candy Crush and reading email before bed on your tablet is not advisable, but you may not realize why it can be worse if you are traveling.  The National Sleep Foundation reported that the light from electronic devices, before bedtime, can actually affect your circadian rhythm, which is likely already off if you are experiencing jet lag. Additional disruptions to your circadian rhythm may increase side effects of jet lag.
  • Listen to music. A study reported a 35% improvement in sleep (better quality and length of sleep) for test subjects that listened to relaxing music prior to turning in. For best results fill your nighttime playlist with music that is 60-80 beats per minute. You can likely plug your phone/music device into the TV for better audio if you do not have a decent travel speaker.
  • Read a book. You know, like a real, paper book? If you need to wind down before bed, avoid the electronics and just read from a paperback book. 
  • Meditation may help you fall asleep faster. Try a short meditative breathing session like this example from MindSpace to put your mind at ease.
  • Turn down the room temperature. WebMD recommends finding a comfortable, but cool temperate between 65 and 72 degrees.

Lights Out

  • Once you are in bed, relax your mind. Count sheep or palm trees, or whatever makes you feel relaxed.
  • If there is any noise from the room next to you, or the hallway, call the front desk immediately.

What travel tips can you share to sleep better on the road?

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Business Travel Life

Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.

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Kristina Portillo, CPT, MS

Kristina is the founder of Business Travel Life. Her love of fitness and travel unified to create a resource for business travelers and road warriors who want to take a healthier approach to business travel. She has traveled for business on and off for the past eight years. Kristina received a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University and received her Bachelors of Arts in Business Marketing from Chaminade University of Honolulu.

2 Comments
  1. Thank you for stating that you should read some good and some bad reviews before booking a hotel room. I have to stay in a hotel for my first time next month and have no idea what to expect or how to prepare. I will definitely utilize all of your great tips and information so I can have a successful hotel stay.

  2. Thanks for explaining that we should put away electronics before bed because the light from them can disrupt our circadian rhythm. I’m glad I read your article because following your tips should help me get a good night’s sleep in the hotel I find!

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