Getting enough quality sleep is hard enough when you're home. But travel, especially for business, makes it even tougher. Frequent travelers burn out fast and face a range of health issues if they don't make a point of practicing good sleep hygiene. People who spend at least two weeks every month traveling for work report higher rates of anxiety and depression; sufficient sleep is one of the key preventive approaches they need to master.
We've put together our best tips for getting the rest you need on the road. Follow this advice, and you should stay sharp, energized, and healthy.
1. Get high. Try to reserve your room on a higher floor, away from street noise and the hotel floors featuring restaurants, gyms, and other amenities that may draw traffic at all hours. Also, ask for a room away from the elevators.
2. Pack smart. We know space is at a premium when you're packing for a trip, but a few key items can make all the difference when you're trying to get some shuteye. Take a sleeping mask and ear plugs to help block out any distracting light and noise. They're small, inexpensive, and invaluable.
3. Make yourself at home. Bring your own pillowcase. The more the bed feels like the one you're used to at home, the more comfortable you'll be. It makes the circumstances more conducive to quality sleep.
4. Keep cool. Turn the room temperature below 67 degrees. Your body temperature decreases as it prepares for sleep, and keeping the room cooler facilitiates your transition into rest.
5. Shut down. You want to eliminate as many distractions as possible, so turn off your various electronic devices and silence your cell phone. If your brain is overstimulated, it's going to take longer to drift off.
6. Go dark. We can't overemphasize the importance of getting the room as dark as possible. If need be, use large binder clips to close the curtains and place a rolled-up towel under the door to block out hallway light.
7. Stay true. There's no place like home... but that doesn't mean you should abandon your typical pre-sleep routine. Whether it's enjoying herbal tea or a bath or reading a book (not your phone!) in bed, try to stick to whatever you usually do to wind down.
8. No work. Don’t bring your job into bed. That’s what the desk is for. Keep them separate. You might be more tempted to work in bed during a business trip than on an ordinary evening, but it's still a recipe for sleeplessness.
9. Sleepy scent. Bring a scent that’s familiar and relaxes you. It could be a candle, but it could also be the linen spray you use at home. The goal is to continue the process of making your hotel room feel less like an alien environment.
10. Have a backup wake-up. Arrange a call to get up in the morning. It helps to reduce your dependence on distracting devices like your phone or even the room's alarm clock.
Poor sleep can make you less alert, less focused, and less productive, while also slowing your mental processing speed, undermining your ability to make decisions, and making you more susceptible to illness. You can't afford to go through business trips in a compromised state. Follow our recommendations and get the sleep you need.