There’s nothing like the comfort of your own bed. That’s why we often have trouble sleeping away from home. Whether you’re returning to student halls after spending Christmas with the family or staying a few nights in a hotel, there’s plenty of ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Here’s how to sleep well whilst away from home.
It sounds obvious but knowing what conditions you’ll be sleeping in will really help you to prepare properly. If you’re sleeping on a sofa, make sure to ask your host if they can provide extra blankets or pillows so it’s more comfortable. It’s also worth checking what time they usually get up, so you know when to expect them in the morning.
When staying in a hotel always check the reviews. People may have complained about excess noise from roadworks or if it’s situated on a main road, so you’ll be able to assess whether this will affect your sleep.
Your sleep environment
Continuing from our previous point, scoping out your sleep environment will help you get a more restful sleep. Staying in a different place will mean your usual sleep space is different, and certain things may keep you from drifting off.
Pack ear plugs and an eye mask to keep out any unwanted noise or light. Our bodies produce a chemical called melatonin which makes us sleep. The Sleep Council says,
‘Even the smallest amount of light in your bedroom whilst you’re trying to sleep can have an adverse effect on the ability of the pineal gland to produce melatonin, causing difficulty sleeping.’
Noise is also another disturbing factor you can avoid with some forward planning. If ear plugs aren’t your thing, try downloading a white noise app on your phone to drown out any distracting sounds.
Another thing to adjust for a comfortable sleep is room temperature. The Sleep Foundation says that 65 degrees Farenheit/ 18.5 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for sleep. If you don’t have access to a thermostat or thermometer, just check you aren’t too hot or cold before settling down.
Bring a bit of home with you
Home comforts are named as such for a reason – they make us feel reassured when we’re away from home. So, what better way to feel relaxed than to bring some of your favourite things with you?
Whether this is a snack you can’t live without, a book you’re currently reading or even your pet (where permitted!), having calming influences around will make it all the easier to drift off. If you usually wear slippers, bring them along too. You could even pack your pillow if you’ll sleep better with it.
When staying away from home with children you might want to load up your tablet with some of their favourite films or TV shows. Let them bring a teddy or toy they love to keep them occupied, and don’t forget the all-important bedtime story.
Give yourself time
Even if you’re one of those lucky people that falls asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you may still struggle to sleep in a different bed. Unless you’re away on a relaxing break, you’ll probably have an alarm set for the following morning. Getting to bed early enough is vital to ensure you get a good enough rest.
Allow more time than usual to get to sleep and don’t get frustrated if you can’t fall asleep right away. If you find you aren’t settled after 15-20 minutes, try one of these relaxation techniques to prepare your body for sleep. Remember, your mind is probably overstimulated by the new surroundings and your body might need time to get used to a new bed or sofa. Give yourself a break!
How to sleep well and stay in your routine
Staying away from home doesn’t mean you should completely neglect your usual bedtime routine. Doing the same things you usually do before bed will not only allow you to sleep easier in unfamiliar surroundings, but will also ensure your sleep isn’t compromised when you return home.
If you usually have a cup of chamomile tea before bed, take some with you and stick to the ritual. If pre-sleep yoga is your thing, get doing those poses. Your body will already be used to these things before bed. Having the same routine will put your body into wind-down mode.
Sleep routines are particularly important for children. A warm bath or shower and their favourite bedtime story will send them off to sleep relaxed.
Tell us your favourite tips on how to sleep well away from home or your own experiences in the comments.