My mom has a unique skill. The woman can sleep anywhere. Her best trick is falling asleep on the couch with her eyes open and the TV on. I swear… she’s sleeping deeply but she’s actually watching TV at the same time. You can have a conversation with her while she’s in this state, and some of the conversation might actually make sense. I’ll sneak into the kitchen for a late snack, the $25,000 pyramid will be blasting from the TV, she’ll be on the couch, snoring, and as soon as I crack the refrigerator, she’ll ask me, “Did you get all the signatures on those pre-admit forms?” Having no idea what she’s talking about, I’ll just say, “I sure did!” Then she’ll yell at one of the contestants on her game show for being stupid, and then she’ll start snoring again without missing a beat. The next day, she remembers nothing of it.
Fortunately, I’ve inherited this priceless ability from my mother. If “Extreme Sleeping” were an Olympic sport, I’d take the Gold! I can sleep anytime, anywhere. I fell asleep in the middle of some sit-ups one time and took an hour’s nap on the floor of my hotel room. Needless to say, I don’t care what sort of bed my hotel has; I fully intend to sleep all over it regardless of firmness, number of pillows, allergens, whatever.
Some people aren’t so lucky. If I weren’t already sleeping by the time my wife completed her pre-sleep ritual, I’m pretty sure I’d have thrown her out of the house by now. She needs to be 100% sure that the dogs are inside, the doors are locked, the night lights are positioned “just so,” her pillows are fluffed correctly, the temperature is proper, the ceiling fan is on the right speed, and the sheets have to be tucked in around her in a very particular fashion. The woman has a “slumber list” longer than a Trans-Atlantic airline pilot’s flight manifest and check list.
For people who have a hard time falling asleep, the number one concern they’ll have is the type of beds major hotel chains use. Pillowtop, MemoryFoam, Temperpedic, PosturePedic, Select Comfort, the list goes on and on. When you think about it, the vast majority of the time you spend in your hotel is time spent sleeping (or trying to sleep, anyway). You have enough to worry about with your sudden shift in schedule, work pressure that comes from being on the road, time zones, Dateline’s latest report on the nasty microbes that lurk in your bed spread, and your checklist for tomorrow’s meeting without having to worry about adjusting to a new bed.
One thing you can do is to find a hotel chain that has a bed you like and stick to it. Look at the label on the mattress and remember the manufacturer and type of mattress, then call ahead to make sure your next hotel plays by the same rules. Another thing you can do is to travel with a “sleep sheet.” It sounds odd, but if you’re used to a particular bed sheet (texture, smell, etc,) you will fall asleep faster whenever you use it. Pack a light silk sheet or a “Snuggie” or something that you’re used to and use it to fall asleep.
One last detail for you to remember is, with few notable exceptions; your bed is for sleeping! Don’t eat, work, watch TV, etc in your bed. When your head hits the pillow your brain needs to know that it’s “sleep time,” not time to gear itself up for anything else. Like the $25,000 pyramid…
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.