Image by sheridan.com

You already know the must-haves for overnight flights and the keys to beating jet lag. But what about when you get to your hotel room and find that it’s a little noisy, a little stuffy, a little cramped, or just plain not enough like home? Here, travel experts and sleep-challenged frequent travelers weigh in on how to get better sleep in an unfamiliar place.

1. Bring your pillow from home

Image by sheridan.com
Image by sheridan.com

You never know what your hotel room will have—the pillows could be too hard or soft—so you’ll sleep better with your familiar pillow”. George Hobica, founder, AirfareWatchdog

2. Request a high floor

Image by booking.com
Image by booking.com

I always request a hotel room on a high floor away from the elevator. That means I’m high above any street noise, fewer people walk past my room late at night, and I’m hopefully farther away from the ice machine and elevator used by housekeeping and room service. Before going to sleep, I take the spare pillows and place them at the base of the door (and any connecting room doors, which I like to avoid to start with)”. Scott Mayerowitz, airlines and travel reporter, Associated Press

3. Pack earplugs and run the fan

Image by homedepot.c
Image by homedepot.c

I never leave home without earplugs. And whenever possible I run the fan or air conditioner in the room for white noise all night long”. Sarah Schlichter, senior editor, Independent Traveler

4. Download a white-noise app

Image by tmsoft.com
Image by tmsoft.com

I used to actually lug a sound machine around. Now I use the white-noise app Sleep Pillow. Ironically, the sound I use is of being inside an airplane. It blocks road, hall, and TV noise perfectly”. Katie McAllister

5. Replay your day

Image by flowlikewater.com
Image by flowlikewater.com

I use this fool-proof meditation technique: Replay your day in reverse chronological order, scene by scene, starting with getting into bed, turning off the light, washing your face, and so on. You’ll knock yourself out in no time. (Oh, and make sure your feet aren’t cold)”. Pavia Rosati, CEO and founder, Fathom

6. Request a tea kettle

Image by theteasupply.com
Image by theteasupply.com

Not all hotel rooms have coffee makers or tea kettles, but if you ask upon check-in, they will always come up with one for you. I always travel with a mix of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea bags—a blend of chamomile, spearmint, lemon grass, etc. It’s usually enough to ease me into sleep; at the very least, it helps me unwind and smells good!”. Patricia Schultz, author, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die

7. Pack a binder clip and electrical tape

Image by freeimages.co.uk
Image by freeimages.co.uk

Two small items can help you get better sleep if you need a darker room. A small binder clip can keep pesky curtains closed, while a strip of electrical tape over blinking lights or a bright alarm clock face can help eliminate those annoyances”. Jonathan Sacks, traveler, Everybody Hates a Tourist

8. Turn to familiar podcasts

Image by wired.com
Image by wired.com

Whether I’m sleeping in a noisy hotel room with loud neighbors or kids running through the halls, or a luxe hotel room in a far-off time zone, I relax to my nightly bedtime ritual of plugging in my earbuds and listening to my favorite podcasts”. Jen Leo, columnist, Los Angeles Times Web Buzz

9. Make it smell like home

Image by hustleandhalcyon.com
Image by hustleandhalcyon.com

I am a terrible sleeper, but I’ve found that the L’Occitane en Provence’s Relaxing Pillow Mist lavender spray helps a little bit. If anything, I get the same smell in the hotel that I get at home. And it comes in a travel size, so it’s easy to travel with”. Ana Silva O’Reilly, founder, Mrs. O Around The World

10. Take an evening dip

Image by inthemousehouse.wordpress.com
Image by inthemousehouse.wordpress.com

Hotel sleeping is more easily done after exercise. If possible, I always book a hotel with a pool and use it too. Nothing helps you sleep better than an evening swim”. Shers Gallagher

11. Listen to a language lesson

Image by flowlikewater.com
Image by flowlikewater.com

Pimsleur audio language lessons put me to sleep! In a good way! So relaxing!”. Ellen Jovin, communication skills expert, EllenJovin.com

12. Read hotel reviews

Image by mumonthemove.com
Image by mumonthemove.com

Noise is a growing problem, I have found, with rooftop bars or outside bars and cafes. I use TripAdvisor to look up reviews about noise and also to see what type of area the hotel is located in, since there could be bars or clubs next door or across the street”. Bob Glaze, curator Globalphile.com

1 COMMENT

  1. If my trip is by car and close, I bring my memory foam pillows and my (long) body pillow. If I fly somewhere and rent a car I find a Target (or another store that carries them) and buy a body pillow and just leave it to be discarded when I leave. As I get older, though, more and more I prefer staying home and sleeping in my wonderful Tempur-Pedic. (Not a plug, BTW!)

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