Sleep can be a frustrating experience for many travelers. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, trying get a good night’s sleep in a hotel room can sometimes be an exercise in futility. After all, there often is a wide variety of unfamiliar sounds and noises that can disrupt your normal sleeping pattern during your hotel stay. A noisy neighbor or loud heating and air conditioning systems are common complaints from hotel guests.
Dr. Natalie Dautovich, Environmental Fellow, National Sleep Foundation, says, “Schedules change when you travel, but you can still enjoy your vacation while protecting your sleep. To maximize your sleep quality while on the road, think of light as the most powerful cue for your body clock. Be sure to get some bright light exposure when you wake up, which will help you feel more energized and alert, and avoid light, like from your cell phone, and increased activity later in the evening, which can make it harder to wind down and fall asleep.”
She offers these recommendations. “Consider bringing an eye mask or a portable sound machine with you to your hotel room or vacation rental to help block out any extra light or noise,” she advises. “It is also important to remember that good sleep at night starts with healthy behaviors during the day. Spending time outdoors is great for your nighttime sleep and can be easily achieved when traveling and exploring new environments. Just be mindful of the effects of early and late light exposure. Lastly, it’s easy to become more flexible with bedtime schedules while traveling. Your body functions best on a regular routine so aim for a regular bed and wake time schedule as much as possible.”
Seasoned travelers are turning to all natural sleep devices in the form of mechanical ear plugs or headbands to help them get the shut-eye they require. The following sleep devices have been proven to be very effective in helping people get a good night’s sleep, whether at home or on the road in an unfamiliar environment.
QuietOn 3 Earbuds utilize Active Noise Control (ANC), Active Noise Canceling and Active Noise Reduction (ANR) which are methods where an unwanted sound is reduced by adding another sound specifically made to cancel it out. Active noise canceling earbuds use a microphone to sample the sound, and a speaker to create a phase-shifted sound that cancels the original sound. According to QuietOn’s literature, passive noise canceling devices such as foam earplugs perform well for frequencies over 1kHz, however they are not working effectively in the range where you would need them most: Low frequency noise waves, which are long and go through the walls and earplugs. Active noise canceling technology is able to reduce low, frequency sounds that ordinary passive earplugs are not able to address. They are most effective at low frequencies such as snoring or ambient sounds coming through walls.
QuietOn 3 Active Noise Canceling earbuds utilize tiny technology. A microphone takes a sample from the outside noise. The tiny active electronics inside the earbud creates a phase-shifted and equalized sound. The phase-shifted sound is then played through a speaker thus canceling the original noise. The energy for the device is provided by re-chargeable battery. The soft memory foam tip ensures a tight fit in the ear and handles the passive noise canceling. And while QuietOn is helpful when it comes to sleeping in hotel rooms, the device also provides quietude on the way to get there by canceling engine noise on the train or air cabin noise on the plane.
SoundOff earbuds uses Noise Masking as its primary technology. Noise Masking is when you listen to one sound so you don’t hear another sound. If you are trying to sleep, the sound you are listening to needs to be soothing and relaxing so it helps you sleep rather than interrupting your sleep. With SoundOff you hear a soothing pink noise. Studies show pink noise relaxes the brain and can help you sleep. SoundOff earbuds were actually created specifically to solve a personal travel problem for one of the founders. After too many sleep-deprived hotel stays with a snoring travel partner, she finally reached a breaking point and shelled out money for an extra hotel room, and that’s literally how the journey to invent SoundOff began. The company’s research consists mainly of personal conversations with users, as well as some written reviews and testimonial videos. Though most customers initially purchase the earbuds for noise problems that keep them awake at home, they often say they won’t leave home without them. Some have even purchased a second pair that stays in their travel bag. One user wrote, “I take weekend golf trips frequently and room with snoring partners. The nights of no sleep have finally ended. I use them even when I don’t need to just because the sound is so relaxing.”
Abhinav Singh, MD, FAASM, Medical Review Expert at SleepFoundation and Medical Director of the Indiana Sleep Center, says, “Sleep in hotels is often challenging. No humidity, dry air, different pillows, different bed, noise levels and light levels.”
Dr. Singh offers these strategies:
* A good eye mask. Some come with Bluetooth speakers for ambient noise/music.
* Making sure you’re well hydrated.
* Comfortable clothing. Sometimes certain aromatherapy could lead to familiarity/relaxation if used even in hotels. The objective is to create as close to possible the physical environment like home.
* Traveling with your CPAP device if you use one.
* Remember the basic sleep hygiene including avoiding screen/TV/phones. Encouraging reading or audiobooks. Avoiding heavy meals prior to getting into the hotel room.