2 Strategies to Getting Better Hotel Sleep

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This week I’m excited to have a guest post from Craig Huggart. Craig liked my post I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Ignored Epidemic in the Legal Profession and asked if he could contribute something on the topic of sleep. Here are his helpful tips about getting better sleep on the road. – Zach

Do you sometimes struggle to sleep well in hotels? Me too!

However, after more than 600 nights on the road, I found two key things that make it easier to get a good night’s rest on the road – picking the right room and optimizing it for sleep.

Pick The Right Room (or have your assistant do it for you)

Choose The Right Hotel

  • I pick the closest Hilton and ask them two key questions. One – is this a quiet hotel? Two – are there any events that will disturb the quiet during my stay. If I am satisfied with the answers, I choose this hotel. If not, I ask them to recommend a nearby hotel. I learned this lesson after staying adjacent to the Red Hat Amphitheater. On a Tuesday, from 5 – 10:30 PM, a rock concert was happening and even wearing my noise cancelling headphones, it was very loud.

Choose The Right Room

  • Two days before check-in, I call the hotel to have them help me choose a room. I tell them I spend about half of the time on the road. I’m not worried about a one bed or two-bedroom accommodation; my priority is sleep. Will they help me choose a quiet room and one that can be made as dark as possible. Then, when I check-in using the app, I just okay the room. This works great!

Optimize The Room For Sleep

Make It Cool (About 64 degrees is optimal for sleep)

  • Ask for a fan.
  • Have maintenance check to ensure the HVAC is working well.
  • Hack the thermostat – A dirty little secret is that many hotel thermostats have governors and motion detectors on them. I once woke up sweating in the middle of the night because the air was cut off due to a motion detector. If a maintenance person doesn’t disable these features for you, go to YouTube and search for something like “hack hotel thermostat and brand name,” and you will find a list of cheat codes to disable this.

Make It Dark (The goal is to have it pitch black)

  • Close the gap. Curtains almost always have a flap that opens in the middle. A couple of binder clips or pants hangers can fix this.
  • Block the lights – Cover the door’s peephole, the TV’s red light and other lights using duct or electrical tape. (I love this pocket duct tape). Use towels and pillows to block the light coming from under the door and window.
  • Use a sleep mask – This is a very personal choice, but my favorite is the Manta Sleep Mask.

Make It Quiet (Block out all you can)

  • Use a white noise machine. I use the Marpac Rohm Portable, but a friend of mine uses the SNOOZ.
  • Use earplugs. This can take some getting used to but is one of the things that has had the biggest impact on my sleep. I recommend Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs. They block out a bunch of sounds and don’t irritate my ears.

Let’s face it; you’re never going to sleep as well on the road as you will at home. However, these tips can make a huge difference.

I’d love to hear from you. What is your best tip for sleeping better in hotels?


Craig Huggart has been a legal technology trainer since 2001. He is an Alabama fan, a Star Trek geek, and is passionate about making the lives of lawyers a little better. You can reach him at craighuggart@gmail.com.

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