Have you ever found it difficult to get quality sleep during business travel?
Regardless of how well you sleep at home or when you are on vacation, business travel is a totally different ball game. Not only are you in an unfamiliar sleeping environment and possibly in a different time zone, but you could also be anxious about important business meetings taking place away from your home base.
Quality sleep is absolutely paramount if you want to feel and perform your best. It’s even more important during business travel – when your energy and mood might already be at a deficit. In this article, you’ll learn two secrets for improving your sleep quality when you are on the road for work.
Turn Your Hotel Room Into a Sleep Sanctuary
When you travel, try to mirror the conditions that you prefer for sleep at home, and try to make your hotel room cold, quiet, and dark. This will require some advanced planning, and it’s unlikely that you will be able to create a perfect setup on the road. It’s worth some effort though.
At the minimum, here are three items to consider bring on every business trip. Each of these will lead to much better sleep, which will lead to better productivity and a better mood the next day:
- Travel pillow: Even if the rest of your hotel room is perfect, a terrible pillow can really compromise your sleep experience and lead to a very cranky morning. The pillows in one of my recent hotel rooms felt like someone had just dumped sand into a pillowcase. The pillows could not have been flimsier. Bringing a travel pillow ensures that you will be able to sleep on something that is your preferred thickness and firmness.
- White noise machine: Whether you are staying at a hotel in a major city (with lots of street activity outside), or whether you just have some noisy neighbors, you will be very thankful for bringing along a white noise machine. You can get a lightweight one on Amazon.com for less than $20. It’s definitely worth it- even if you only need it once.
- Sleep mask: It’s amazing how much light creeps into most hotel rooms. In many hotel rooms, light creeps in under your door (from the hallway), and light creeps in from windows-due to curtains that fail to cover or block it out. Then, you also have light from electronic devices located all over your hotel room, including the time on the microwave, alarm clocks, the television, and so on. Rather than unplugging everything, or covering all these lights with black duct tape (which I used to do), it’s easier to just bring and wear a sleeping mask. Instant darkness.
Establish a Strict Policy Against Work or Electronics in Your Hotel Room
It can be very tempting to catch up on work emails, watch TV, or surf the internet in your hotel room. However, this is exactly what not to do- since these activities will just stimulate you and make it harder to fall asleep and sleep peacefully throughout the night.
If you are like me, you will find it easier to ban work, television, and internet surfing completely in your hotel room, instead of trying to figure out when or for how long you can engage in these activities.
Not sure what to do before bed if you can’t work or use electronics? Here are five ideas:
- Go for a leisurely walk inside your hotel or outside.
- Do some gentle yoga or light stretching.
- Listen to some peaceful music.
- Read a fiction book or a light nonfiction book.
- Take a bath.
If you have to do work during your trip, use the hotel lobby or business center, or visit a nearby coffee shop. Or, pay more money and get a suite at your hotel- instead of a standard room. That way, you could work, watch TV, or use the internet in your suite’s living room area, while avoiding work and electronics in the room where you will actually sleep.
When you travel for business, you need to be even more diligent about managing your energy and getting quality rest. Follow these two secrets, and you’ll fall asleep faster and wake up much more refreshed:
- Turn your hotel room into a sleep sanctuary.
- Establish a strict policy against work or electronics in your hotel room.
This article was originally published on StrongerHabits.com
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