Why do you sleep better in a hotel?

October 7, 2016 TRAVEL TIPS

If you sleep better in a hotel than at home, you’re not alone. Many people find it easier to get a full night’s rest away from the usual distractions.

In a hotel, you won’t be burdened with thoughts of unfinished tasks around the home, like taking out the trash or wondering if you locked the back door.

Those with pets might sleep better in a hotel because their furry friends aren’t hogging the bed or waking them at the crack of dawn for a morning walk.

And that goes double for parents, especially those with newborns. A study for a British mattress company showed that parents lose a whopping 44 days of sleep during their child’s first year. Those who find a sitter can improve their night of reprieve by sleeping miles away from the baby monitor and diaper pail.

First night challenge

Just because you’re away from your everyday cares doesn’t mean you won’t toss and turn. Many people experience the so-called “first night effect,” whenever they sleep in an unfamiliar place.

A Brown University study showed that, during the first night in a new place, one half of the brain stays more awake than the other, as if to be on high-alert. On subsequent nights, study participants slept more restfully, leading researchers to refer to the phenomenon as the first-night effect.

Sleep Better in a Hotel


Yuka Sasaki, one of the study’s leaders, suggests counteracting this issue by staying multiple nights in the same hotel. If that’s not feasible, stay in the same brand of hotel, as the similar environments will be less likely to keep your brain active.

Create your nest away from home

Consistency is key to better sleep in a hotel. If you’re more prone to the first-night effect, here are some suggestions to make your hotel room cozier so you can get some quality shut-eye:

  • Request a quiet room: This means a room away from elevators, traffic, ice machines and the pool. Even if your home is loud, unfamiliar sounds can trigger your brain that something is amiss.
  • Check the thermostat: Most experts recommend a cool 65 degrees Fahrenheit for sleeping, but choose whatever temperature you normally like in your home environment.
  • Use the bed for sleep only: Just like at home, you shouldn’t do any work in bed, even if you’re on a business trip. Your body should be trained to associate the bed as a place meant solely for sleep.
  • Create a home away from home: Use these 7 essentials for your hotel nightstand.
Sleep Better in a Hotel: Sign


  • Travel with a comfort item: Family photos, your favorite PJs or even a well-worn pillowcase — these can help make your hotel room feel more like home.
  • Make sure it’s really lights out: Even if you’re not usually light sensitive, you might be distracted by the lights in an unfamiliar place, so pull the room-darkening curtains or drop the shades.
  • Unplug one hour before bedtime: Make this part of your bedtime routine both at home and away. The blue glow of your screen can disrupt your inner sleep rhythms, so if you must read, pick up a real book, newspaper or magazine.

If the above suggestions don’t work, consider investing in one of these 10 Best Sleep Accessories to alleviate whatever might be plaguing you. Sweet dreams!

Written by Jenna Rose Robbins

Want to learn more about better ways to sleep? Check out: