Getting a good night’s sleep can be tough when you’re traveling. Many people simply don’t feel as comfortable in a hotel room as they do at home. But there are ways to help make sure your sleep isn’t ruined while you’re away.

Here is what you want to look for in a hotel when you check in, so that you can make the best of your sleep while you’re there:

Quietness:  Noise in your hotel room — whether from the room on the other side of the wall, the hallway or street — can ruin your vacation or business meeting.

Here are some ways to prevent this problem:

  • If you get a room and the guy next door has his TV loud when it is bedtime, and you hear the sound through the walls, don’t hesitate to ask the receptionist to ask him if he can lower the volume. If this still doesn’t work, ask if you can move to another room. Don’t struggle.
  • If you’re in the last available room and there are no others to move to, that is where “being prepared” pays off. Always travel with ear plugs, preferably waxed. You can get them at any local pharmacy.
  • The sound of fan or the air conditioner/heater might help muffle down the noise in the next room or hallway.
  • I always ask for rooms that are higher up (away from traffic) and far from elevators since the opening and closing of the elevator door can be noisy for some people. In the summer time, you might want to avoid a room next to the ice machine.
  • I prefer a room in the corner, away from the elevator and higher up.
  • If you plan to sleep in the next morning, don’t forget to check the radio/alarm clock to make sure it is turned off. I had to learn my lesson a couple of times when the alarm went off at 5 in the morning. Now, I check it every time, and I find many alarms set to go off in the wee hours of the night.

I know I want a clean hotel room – who doesn’t? I don’t want to walk in and smell the cleaning supply odor, either.

What to do:

  • Get another room if yours is too dirty. If the room feels stuffy, you can turn on the fan and/or air conditioner to let air circulate.
  • If you can open the window, this can help you get some fresh air into the room.

Darkness: A beam of light peeking through the window or door can be disruptive to sleep for some folks.

Try this:

  • Shut the blinds or curtains.
  • If the hallway light is coming through the bottom of the door, put a towel under the door.

Mattresses can make or break your sleep. If you prefer a firm mattress, ask the receptionist for it. Newer mattresses tend to be firmer; ask if you can have a room with a “new” mattress.


Snack: If you enjoy a late night snack, remember to bring a healthy snack with you so you don’t have to eat junk from vending machines, unless you are craving some that night.


Relax: Take advantage of the warm shower, especially after a long trip. It helps you relax and sleep better.


Preventative measures work to your advantage.
Deal with noisy or unclean rooms by making smart options about the choice of your rooms. Don’t be afraid to ask the receptionist if you could check the room ahead of time and before you make the reservation.
A little note: If you find yourself sleeping better in hotels or environments other than your home bedroom, you might be suffering from a form of insomnia. Maybe because you are away from your problems, you can sleep better away. This is a type of insomnia that focuses on worries, including worries about not sleeping. If you’re in this situation, try to make changes at your home that are conducive to a relaxed mind. Avoid over-worrying or over-thinking. Easier said than done, but there are techniques, including  relaxation, yoga and exercise. And you can seek counseling to learn coping mechanisms to combat stress and worries.