Getting good sleep in a hotel

Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Sleeping While Traveling?

Truths and Tips on Finding Great Hotel Sleep

You know you’ve experienced it, the awful night’s sleep in a hotel.  What is to blame?  Is it the mattress?  Was it the noise? Was it both noise and mattress? Was it stress from travel?  Read on and find out some fascinating facts on Hotels and Sleep.

First Night Sleep Syndrome

Did you know you have instinctual sleep defenses?  The first night you sleep in a new room/environment your defenses are up.  Most times you won’t even be aware of this, but your instincts are active in the background doing things that are designed by nature to keep you safe.  In the case of hotel stays your instincts are telling your body that it will have the necessary sleep. However, your brain will remain on high alert the entire night.  This is the “Danger Avoidance” instinct that has come with us humans since the dawn of time.  Our brain’s job is to keep us safe, and in this case, sleeplessness is the price you pay to stay “safe.”  

You’ll notice this instinct subsides as fast as the second night at the same hotel.  You may attribute this to lack of full sleep the night before, and while that is a helpful fact it isn’t the main reason the second night is so much better. Your alertness has shown that dangers do not lurk as heavily as your brain anticipated and therefore you are allowed a deeper sleep and better rest.  Does this mean that you are fully asleep the second night? Probably not. Most reports say you don’t get full sleep for at least 3 to 4 nights.

Hotel Noise

It doesn’t fail, you’ve just laid down, your eyes are closed, and you’re right about to jump off the edge and dive into a good night’s rest, and BOOM! Your neighbor’s door slams or you hear the elevator bell ding, or worst of all the upstairs person decides midnight marathon training in their room is a good idea.   How can you avoid these issues? How can you get a night of better sleep?  

The easy answer is to turn the fan on.  The fans in hotels are designed to be great white noise conductors.  White noise helps cover most sound waves and helps give you that essential quiet you need for good sleep.  A better idea is to lower the room temperature to somewhere between 66 and 68 degrees.  When you have a room this cool, it helps you find sleep over 20% faster. This has been proven in multiple sleep experiments and is worth remembering while you are on the road.  

Hotel Mattress Hell

It’s a strong subtitle for a strong subject.  Most of us have had the experience where we stay at a high-end hotel and experience everything first class, but when it comes down to laying down for blessed sleep the mattress is nothing but a cheap spring and foam mattress.  It’s the ultimate let down, and you wonder what they were thinking.  Well here is the inside story.

Hotel companies are huge consumers of mattresses.  They buy in bulk on a constant basis.  The average life span for a hotel mattress is three to five years while this sounds like a responsible time allotment you have to consider that the majority of hotel mattresses are models that range for the everyday $299 mattress and the $399 mattress which in our bedrooms would most likely last us a good two years.  

How to be happy with your hotel sleep

Does this mean that hotel companies are cheapskates and not wanting to help their clientele?  No, not at all.  You have to consider that healthy sleep culture is BARELY catching on.  Sleep has not been a consideration for longer life and better health until recently.  Hotels concentrate on clean appearance, guest relations, and room cleanliness.  Mattress consideration has always been last on the list.  That is until lately.  

Just recently with the consumer’s change in attitude towards the importance of good sleep, hotels have started to catch on to this and are now offering premium sleep systems.  You’ll also notice that marketing campaigns are being built around a hotel’s new concentration on sleep.  Several of the larger hotel chains have even hired sleep experts to redesign rooms and sleep areas.  Higher end mattresses, new paint schemes, white noise producing radios, and AC units with smoother starting motors are all tricks used by hotel companies to help their consumers find better rest. 

How do you find a hotel that thinks about sleep? 

While finding the right hotels for great sleep still isn’t going to be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, you can help yourself by making some phone calls ahead of time.  Don’t fear to ask questions about room noise and placement of where your room is located in relation to stairwells or elevators.  Ask about their mattresses too, why stay somewhere when you’ll feel springs under you all night?

About the author:

Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, professionally trained sleep stores, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.