how to sleep better in a hotel or motel roomHow to sleep better at a hotel

Screaming children sprinting down the hallway. Grinding ice machines, dinging elevators and bachelor parties just a few doors away from yours. The sleep fairies have their work cut out for them if you want to ensure a good night’s snooze at some hotels. Whether packing, racing to the airport or picking the perfect playlist for the road, do you ever think about getting a good night’s sleep in the hotel? Too often our goals are to just make it to just make to check in on time and not look a hot mess. What about the bed? The hallway noise? Room placement?

We’ve created a go-to-guide to ensure a good night’s sleep in a hotel, from booking to eliminating hallway noisemakers to ensure sweet dreams and a memorable trip.

Pack motel essentials before leaving home

  • Earplugs. Uncomfortable – yes. Necessary – yes. Less annoying than hearing neighbors and hallway shenanigans.
  • BYOS: Traveling with your own sheets gives the scent and feel of being “home sweet home.” If your skin is sensitive to detergents you’ll have no worries.
  • Spray the room. Pack lavender linen spray or a comfortable sleep scent. Motel chemicals can be overpowering and affect certain allergies.

What do at the hotel when you arrive

  • Choose a good room. Request to be midway along the hallway. Typically, this is the quietest part of the floor, away from the elevator, vending machines and housekeeping closets.
  • Avoid pool-facing rooms. The view will be pretty but tend to have late night guests – despite closing times — and early morning Marco Polo games. Remember, noise echoes off water.
  • Requesting a room. Ask for at least 3 levels above the bar, banquet rooms or other public spaces. Surprising how many floors the pulse and thumping of the “Macarena” can travel.
  • Pick your room. Is the hotel going through or recently completed renovations? Avoid floors adjacent to remodeling projects. But you do want a remodeled floor – cleaner, smells fresher and newer linens.
  • Traveling with a friend? Request two beds. You’ll get a better night’s sleep if snoozing alone.

Prep for snoozing in your hotel room

  • Avoid dinner food comas. A churning belly interferes with sleep.
  • Enjoy a nightcap. A small glass of wine after dinner might be just what you need to set the stage for relaxing. Keep it moderate and indulge at least 2 hours before you plan to sleep.
  • Report disturbances. Don’t hesitate to inform the front desk if noises in the hallway or other guest rooms become excessive and make it impossible for you to sleep. It’s not tattling!
  • Pick your pillow. If you’re leaving your favorite pillow at home, be sure to request one comparable. Hotels stock firmer pillows in closets or have a “secret” stash. If all fails bring your own pillow for head snuggling.

Time to snooze better in your motel room

  • Hang the “do not disturb sign” on the door. Some motels begin housekeeping at 8 am.
  • Set backup wake up calls. Using both your phone and the front desk will ensure you wake up on time.
  • Take a bath or shower. Raising your body temperature in the water then stepping into the cool air sets the stage for sleep – your body temperature naturally lowers when you sleep.
  • Bring a night light. Hang it on the wall near the bathroom – you won’t fall over random furniture for a midnight tinkle.
  • Flip through the television. Choose a mellow show or movie, avoid “The Shining” and other horror flicks. Pick soothing music if scrolling on your phone.

Under the covers and ready for better sleep

  • Foot traffic. If constant foot traffic or buzzing from the vending machines are driving you bananas, request a room change. Most hotels should give you the option – yes it’s a pain for you – but you want to ensure you’re getting the sleep you deserve.
  • Get out of bed. Instead of tossing and turning or staring at the television like a zombie, read a magazine or take a quick walk.

Staying in a hotel should be exciting! Next time you’re planning a trip, take some time to utilize these tips. We think you’ll find a better night’s sleep whether staying at a 1 or 4 star hotel.

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This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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