How to Get More Sleep When You Travel for Work

Woman sleeping in hotel room bed

Your first business trip might have been exciting. But after the thrill of business travel wears off, travelers face issues like sleeping.  Between shifts in time zones,  late nights at networking events, and uncomfortable hotel beds, it’s a challenge to get the sleep you need on business trips. And sleep is important, especially when traveling for work.

If you spend your time in hotels and the proverbial planes, trains and automobiles, plan ahead to make you get the rest you need.

Sleeping in hotels

In theory, sleeping in a hotel room sounds pretty great – soft sheets, plush bathrobes, room service. But, for many travelers, it’s difficult to sleep well in a strange room. The mattress is different, the pillows are too fluffy or firm, and there’s no spouse or pet sharing your bed with you. That said, there are ways to get to sleep faster in a hotel room, and here are some of them.

Cool down

One way to promote a good night of sleep is to keep the room cool. Cooler room temperatures signal the body that it’s time to slow down and rest.  If your room has a thermostat, set it to between 64 and 68 degrees when you’re ready for some shuteye. Studies have found that 65 degrees, or thereabouts, may be the best temperature to promote sleep.

Relax with a massage

If you’re serious about getting a good night’s sleep during your business trip, book a hotel sleep massage through Zeel. Sleeping well is especially vital if you have important business meetings or an early conference in the morning.  The best time to get a massage for sleep? Generally, you should book about an hour before you need to toddle off to slumberland. The sleep massage from Zeel includes techniques specially designed to soothe your nerves and quiet your mind. Massage is especially recommended if you suffer from jet lag or insomnia, or even daylight savings time shifts.

Melatonin FTW

When you’re ready to hit the hay, your body produces a hormone called melatonin. A lack of melatonin often leads to long, sleepless nights.

Many people find melatonin supplements effective in inducing sleep, whether in a hotel room or their own bedroom. For maximum melatonin, skip other bedtime habits that can reduce melatonin production. One of the most widespread bad sleep habits: too much screen time in the evening. Blue light from electronic devices – and that means laptops, TVs, and cell phones – has been proven to disrupt melatonin production, keeping you awake at night. Turn off your devices at least an hour before you go to sleep. (Of course, if you’re getting a massage at your hotel, you won’t be tempted to text!)

Take advantage of hotel hospitality

If anything in (or outside) the room is distracting, have it removed. Notice a weird smell? Report it and ask for a different room. Neighbors being too loud or obnoxious? Call the front desk and tell them to get it sorted out. Your company is paying for this space, so it needs to fit your requirements for some shut-eye.

Sleeping on a plane

Sleeping on a plane is for experts. If you’re lucky, you’ll be sitting in business class – otherwise, you’ll likely be crammed into coach, with its ever-shrinking legroom and chair width.   Even if planes aren’t ideal for resting (or really anything aside from conveying you to your destination), there are some great hacks for helping you rest in transit.

Book the right seat

Instead of letting chance dictate where you sit, pick a seat that will best accommodate sleep. If you can help it, don’t choose a middle seat. Window seats are the best choice for successful snoozing.  You can lead your head against the window (wear a hat or bring a small pillow for plane sleeping), and you won’t be disturbed by fellow passengers squeezing past you to go to the bathroom.   For advanced plane sleeping. pick the side of the plane that matches your personal sleeping habits. Do you sleep on your left side in bed? Then book a window seat on the left side of the cabin.

If you need to stretch out, opt for the emergency seat row, which has extra legroom or upgrade to “economy plus” or whatever the airline’s version of “extra room” is.
Contact your airline ahead of time to get details.

Pack accessories

Comfort items can help you sleep on planes, including a blanket, a sleep mask, noise canceling headphones with music for sleep, or even this innovative travel pillow.

Don’t drink

While it might be tempting to avail yourself of bar cart refreshments, skip the booze. Alcohol might knock you out, but it produces poor-quality sleep that will not refresh you when you reach your destination.

Should I take sleeping pills?

Some travelers like to take Ambien to help them doze on planes. However, you should be very careful about taking this sedative, especially if you have never taken Ambien before. Ambien can induce  unconsciousness for up to eight hours – and that means you might still be asleep when you reach your destination. Ambien also has side effects – the most common is sleepwalking or sleep talking. That means you might order everything in the Skymall catalog without realizing it. Melatonin is a safe option.

Sleep on it

Travelling and good sleep don’t always mix, but when you take the right steps before and during your trip, you can minimize distraction and optimize your chances of a good night’s rest. Put these best practices to work and enjoy the best travel sleep of your life.

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