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Tips for Travelers: A Sweet Night's Sleep

How to Get a Good Nights Sleep While Traveling

by Pete Bils

With the holiday season finally at a close, it's time to set aside some quality time for your own rest, relaxation and recovery. More than 30 million Americans packed up for holiday destinations last month and unfortunately, many are arriving home tired, crabby and bleary-eyed from sleepless nights endured along the way.

Getting a good night's sleep while traveling can be a challenge, especially in unfamiliar hotel rooms. In fact, 95 percent of American adults say they rarely get a good night's sleep while traveling, according to a 2005 Travel Sleep Habits Survey conducted by Radisson Hotels & Resorts and Select Comfort.

Factors that contribute to sleeplessness range from unfamiliar mattresses and pillows to unusual diets, unconventional schedules and multiple time zone changes. The stress of travel can also create a vicious cycle: frustration at not being able to sleep begets stress, and stress continues to rob travelers of sleep, which ruins not only their night but the next day as well.

So before you pack up for your next travel adventure, let's discuss how to stop counting sheep and actually get some sleep. The key is to create a cozy, sleep-friendly environment in your hotel room so you can arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to enjoy all it has to offer:

Create a sleep-friendly environment
If you are a "light" sleeper, request a quiet room away from elevators, stairs and vending areas. Mask unwanted noise by using the fan-only setting on the air conditioner, which provides an excellent source of steady volume. Before crawling into bed, eliminate sources of excess light and keep the thermostat set to around 65-70 degrees or consider turning it off.

Mimic your home sleep environment as much as possible. For example, if your hotel room features a Select Comfort Sleep Number ® bed, you can adjust the mattress to your exact prefer-ence. Test the hotel's pillows for comfort and exchange them if they aren't to your liking. Many hotels offer a variety of pillows, allowing you to choose pillows of varying levels of firmness.

Plan your itinerary
Arrive at your hotel in the early evening to ensure that your room is ready and waiting for you. It will help to compensate for jet lag, and give you time to get acclimated to your new surroundings. If you live far from the airport and have an early morning flight or anticipate bad weather, plan to stay the night at a hotel near the airport and use the hotel's parking and shuttle service. Pre-pack your suitcases the day before your flight and set aside a special bag for personal grooming items that you use just for traveling. Guests who stay at a Radisson can use "Express Yourself" and check in online up to seven days prior to arrival as well as note their stay preferences.

Get outside and move around
Exposure to sunlight in the morning helps adjust your internal clock, so try taking a walk or a light jog outside upon waking. If you can't avoid working on your computer while traveling, try to find a room with lots of natural light and sit near a window. If the hotel has an exercise room, take advantage of it and its recreational amenities, such as a pool and whirlpool.

Iron and organize
Relieve stress by preparing your attire for the next day in advance. Unpack your toiletries. If you have forgotten any essentials, such as a toothbrush or shave kit, call the front desk and get a replacement before you go to sleep.

Test the alarm clock
Arrange a wake-up call and set the alarm clock. Make sure the current time and the alarm time both have the correct a.m. and p.m. designations. Also, make sure the buzzer or radio is loud enough to wake you. If you can sleep in, put the Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel room door and arrange for a late check-out.

Avoid alcohol and stimulants

Tempting as it may be to relax with a cocktail before retiring for the night, alcohol will only make you feel sleepy initially, and will interfere with your ability to stay asleep throughout the night.

For a list of Radisson hotels with Sleep Number beds, log on to or

1- 2005 Travel Sleep Habits Survey conducted by Caravan ® Opinion Research Corporation for Select Comfort and Radisson Hotels & Resorts.

(Source: Radisson Hotels)