Better Sleep Tips for Business Trips
Road warriors need sound sleep to be at their peak.
Long flights, poor seating, flight delays, turbulence, missed connections,
recycled dry air, and the occasional rude or incessantly talking seatmate can
all make for a less-than-pleasant experience. Here are few things you can do to
- Get comfortable. Get a pillow or two and blanket. Bringing along a
C-shaped pillow that fits around your neck is also helpful, as it keeps your
head from bobbing around or getting a stiff neck. Take off your shoes or at
least loosen the laces to improve circulation.
- Drink water. This will help counter the dehydrating effects of the
dry, recycled air. Carbonated beverages may produce excess stomach gas.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They are diuretics, causing you to go to
the bathroom frequently. This, along with the dry cabin air, will increase your
chances of dehydration. Remember that one drink in the air can be act like two
on the ground.
- Relieve ear pressure. First, never fly with serious sinus/ear
congestion, whether from a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection. If
you do, you may experience severe pain and damage your eardrums. To get on the
plane, you must be able to "clear" your ears by gently but forcefully
exhaling against a closed mouth and nose. Antihistamines and decongestants may
significantly help. While on the plane, chewing gum may help equalize your ear
pressure as well. Pressure problems are generally worse on landing. So make
sure your ears feel clear before you descend.
- Nap carefully. Consider a short nap on a short flight and a longer
one on a longer flight. On longer flights consider waiting until the latter
portion of the flight. So when you wake and feel refreshed just as the flight
as about to end. Do not snooze too long unless you have a long flight. Napping
more than 30-45 minutes may put you into a deep sleep, making you feel more
tired when you wake up. Also, close the window shade, if possible, or don your
eye covers. Ear plugs will also help a great deal.
At the Hotel
Sleeping facilities are as important as meeting facilities.
When booking a hotel, ask for a room away from the ballroom nightclub, bar,
or restaurant. If you are not with your family try to stay away from others
with babies or small kids. And, above all, make sure the alarm clock in the
room isn't already set to go off when you don't want it to.
Some hotels are now promoting sleep-friendly amenities. The Hilton Hotel
chain commissioned the Alertness Solutions study noted above to incorporate the
findings into their offerings. The Westin offers its Heavenly Bed for a good
night's rest. The Benjamin Hotel in New York is all about sleep, and Crowne
Plaza Hotels & Resorts is launching its Sleep Advantage Program next month.
These hotels might provide:
- Designated quiet areas: These are rooms or whole floors that are
explicitly reserved for customers who want a good night's sleep, and may have
certain restrictions against children, loud music, parties, etc.
- Quiet rooms: These rooms may be located well off the street, have
double-paned windows, soundproofed non-squeaky doors, quiet air-conditioners,
and the like.
- Room amenities: These make a big difference and can include:
- A great bed and bedding
- Ear plugs and eye covers
- Blackout curtains
- Relaxing, sleep-promoting music
- Night lights for safety and avoiding bright light if you get up at
- Bath amenities such as lavender aromatherapy, potpourri, soaps, and
- Menu of pillows, from down to full-body and C-pillows
- Wake-up calls
- Spa facilities: They may include steam, sauna, aromatherapy,
exercise equipment, and massage to help guests relax.