7 essentials for your hotel nightstand
Anyone traveling faces the challenge of sleeping well in a new environment. Sometimes sleeping in a hotel is effortless, while other times the room feels to foreign to fit your bedtime habits.
You might already have methods for creating a good sleep routine away from home, whether it’s taking a bath or shower before bed, putting on a well-worn sleep shirt, or using a travel eye mask or ear plugs.
But have you looked at your nightstand lately? If it’s crowded with your phone, laptop and work files, that might be hurting your chances of getting a complete night’s rest.
To help you achieve great sleep tonight or on your next trip, experts on feng shui, wellness, and interior design offer their recommendations for what should — and shouldn’t — be on the nightstand.
Create your home away from home
Wanda Heffler, an interior designer and feng shui instructor at SUNY Purchase College in Purchase, N.Y., suggests traveling with a framed picture of a loved one, a beautiful sunset or other serene nature scene for some calming reassurance on your nightstand.
“In our own homes, we can control what we have and use to provide a sense of well-being and comfort,” Heffler says. “In a hotel room, it is important to modify and adjust the environment.”
Clear work from your bedside table
Don’t leave work papers or to-do lists by the side of the bed, according to Laura Benko, author of The Holistic Home: Feng Shuit for Mind Body Spirit Space, and a feng shui instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“All of these items convey a subconscious message of loose ends and unresolved business that makes falling asleep more difficult,” she says.
However, it’s okay to set a non-work-related title on the nightstand, “if you’re reading a book that eases you into sleepiness. Now that the book has instigated sleep, it holds a positive energetic value,” Benko says.
Make the most of essential oils
“Lavender oil is my go-to for making a [hotel] room smell better, and also to induce relaxation and rest,” Cho says.
While Cho generally doesn’t suggest keeping electronic items on your bedside table, she makes an exception for the diffuser. The scented, humidifying, cooling mist has calming effects, and most models shut off via auto-timer.
“Orange essential oil spray clears the room of any energy from other guests,” Cho says. “Orange is vibrant and used in feng shui for space-clearing. It’s also healing and calming.”
Keep a carafe of water on your bedside table.
“Being hydrated is always helpful for a good night’s sleep,” Cho says, “but the water also provides moisture in the air for comfort.” In fact, drinking water before going to bed can make your mornings less painful.
Keep electronics at a distance
Do not charge your phone or laptop on your nightstand, as these devices give off electromagnetic fields that are “very disruptive for a good night’s sleep,” per Cho. Similarly, watching TV while falling asleep can also prove problematic, because of the screen effect and potentially disturbing content from news broadcasts.
“The light from TV and electronic devices can disrupt circadian rhythms, which are often already haywire when traveling,” Cho says. “Remove the remote control from your nightstand, and you’ll be less likely to succumb to the TV.”
Unplug the alarm clock
For ultimate sleep health, consider unplugging the bedside alarm clock. You can request a wakeup call from the hotel front desk and/or use the alarm on your phone, provided it’s plugged in across the room and set in airplane mode. That placement can also help you get going in the morning by forcing you out of bed to turn off the alarm.
End your day on a positive note
Keep a hotel-provided notepad and pen on your nightstand and wrap up your day by writing a gratitude list.
“Think pleasant thoughts before retiring and express gratitude for all the beautiful blessings in your life or in your day,” Heffler says.
Good sleep takeaway
You can manage the effects of travel-related variables like light levels, jet lag and in-room air quality by keeping some essentials within reach on your hotel nightstand and removing electronics and other items that could prove disruptive.
Written by Cara Cannella
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