8 Tips for Sleeping in a Hotel

The problem with getting a good night's sleep in a hotel is that it can be so unpredictable. You won't know whether or not it's going to happen until you try. You may find yourself in a quiet, peacefully decorated room with a bed that's even more comfortable than your own. Or, you may not. Here's how to avoid common hotel disturbances and at the same time, be prepared for the worst.

  • When you make your reservation, request a room that is located away from elevators, ice machines, in-house restaurants and bars, and any other areas where people gather and noise is generated. Higher up and facing away from the street are often your best bets for avoiding noise. When you arrive, ask to see the room before you check in.
  • Unless you are traveling with your own kids, try to avoid hotels that cater more to families than to business travelers. If you're traveling to a beach or resort area, or a town known for late-night activities and partying, choose a hotel that's away from the action.
  • If you can afford it, choose a hotel that boasts high-quality beds and bedding. Bring your own comfortable sleepwear and an extra pair of socks to keep your feet warm, if necessary.
  • Use the fan or air conditioner in your room as a form of "white noise."  White noise helps lull you to sleep and blocks out any sudden noises that might wake you up once you've fallen asleep. You can also use your iPod or other mp3 player to provide soothing music that will serve as white noise.
  • Always travel with earplugs. They're an inexpensive form of sleep insurance, and while they don't generally block out all noise (which is a good thing if you need to wake up to a travel alarm clock), they do reduce ambient, or background, noise such as traffic noise and conversations. Likewise, carry an eye mask for blocking out unexpected light.
  • If you are booked in a room where external noise from the hallway or parking lot is a nuisance, ask to change your room. Also, hotels often make structural repairs and perform renovations during the "off-season," so the great deal you got on your room may be had at the expense of a good night's sleep or nap when you need one if the work is being done while you need to sleep.
  • If you think noise can come in under the door to your room, roll up a towel and stuff it under and against the door, along the floor, just as you would to keep out a draft.
  • Remember to hang your "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door before you go to bed.