How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep at a Hotel


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Lars Leetaru

A poor night’s sleep is an all too common problem when you’re staying at a hotel, says Alistair Hughes, the managing director of Savoir Beds, a London-based company that sells beds and handmade mattresses to more than 50 hotels globally. “A hotel is an unfamiliar setting which can impact the quality of the rest you get,” he said.

Mr. Hughes spends more than half the year staying at hotels around the world and said that a sound sleep in a hotel room can be had, if travelers follow a few key pieces of advice.

Here, his tips:

Stay Loyal to a Few Brands Hotels usually invest in one kind of mattress for all of the properties that are part of their collection, so if you’ve had a good night’s sleep at one Hyatt, Four Seasons or another brand, stay with that brand as much as you can. “It takes time for your body to become accustomed to a new bed, which can lead to fitful sleep,” Mr. Hughes said. “But if your body is already familiar with a mattress at a hotel where you’ve slept well, chances are that you’ll sleep well at another one of the brand’s properties.”

Ask Before Booking Before booking your stay, ask the hotel’s concierge staff about what materials the property’s mattresses are made with, because these materials impact how well you sleep. A mattress constructed of polyester or foam, for example, doesn’t breathe well, meaning that no matter how low you crank the air conditioning, your body can still overheat and sweat. Materials such as cotton, wool, horsehair and cashmere, on the other hand, breathe well and keep you cool, leading to a better rest.

Make Special Requests A little personalization goes a long way in having a sleep-friendly hotel room. If you find that your bed’s mattress is too hard, request an extra comforter to go under the sheets to soften it up a bit. Also, some hotels have pillow menus with different kinds of pillows, such as extra-firm and hypoallergenic, so you can choose the one you find most comfortable. And when you are making your booking, request a room on a high floor that’s not near the elevator so you hear less noise, both from the street and from people getting on and off the elevator.

Set the Mood A quiet, dark, cool room is the ideal environment for sleeping well, Mr. Hughes said. Create this ambience by having ear plugs to block noise, using the blackout blinds your room likely has and setting the temperature to between 64 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unwind Before Bed When you get back to your hotel room at the end of the day, relax before hitting the sack — doing so, Mr. Hughes said, will help you wind down and sleep better. Avoid stimulating activities such as watching television or checking your email. Instead, read a book or magazine, take a bath and drink a cup of herbal tea.

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