We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep — challenging enough with the stress of daily life and compounded when on the road. With one of the industry’s biggest weeks of the year coming up, chances are you’re packing and looking forward to the excitement. Conventions are a wonderful opportunity to mix business with pleasure as you promote your brand, meet with colleagues and fans, and reunite with friends — and also stay up Vegas-late and party like it’s 2016!
But let me sober you up a bit.
Lack of sleep does more than leave you tired and cranky. When you’re exhausted, everything suffers: your mood, thought processes, attention span, performance and energy level. Fatigue shows on your face and takes its toll on your body, neither of which you can afford when you need to look, feel and be at your best during real-time, face-to-face interactions. But not to worry. Here are some tips to help you get the rest you need when you’re on a big work trip.
In the air
If you can sleep on an airplane, congratulations! For most people, surrounding noise, cramped conditions, recycled air, controlled temperatures and the “upright and locked position” are anything but conducive to even the shortest of naps. But there are ways to make it better.
This may sound obvious, but take every opportunity you have to dress for comfort. (Trust me, you’ll be dreaming of athleisure after a few hours on the show floor.) Wear comfortable shoes ideal for rushing through airports and schlepping suitcases. Opt for layers so you can add or subtract clothing depending on the fickle and often extreme weather patterns common in airport waiting areas and plane cabins.
Eye mask and earplugs: Even when flying at night, with dark skies and window shades down, the interior of a plane is never going to be sleep-optimal. Track lighting for passengers and crew going to and fro, ambient light from everyone’s devices and the murmur of conversation only add to the discomfort of your already incredibly uncomfortable seat, particularly when the person in front of you reclines theirs. Block out the lights with your eye mask and muffle the noise with earplugs.
A note about eye masks (because I sense your skepticism): They are kind of magic. They create a sensation of pure darkness that’s useful on a plane, as well as in a hotel room. Look for a mask that fits comfortably while fully covering your eye area. Dream Essentials offers a variety of masks, from slim-line to gel-filled. Some even come with foam earplugs.
Neck pillow: Stuff one of these into your personal bag so it’s under the seat for easy access when you’re ready to doze. If you have room, tuck a small blanket into your bag as well, in case the cabin is cold. Airlines sometimes charge for pillows and blankets, and let’s be honest: Do we really know where those pillows and blankets have been?
In your hotel room
Call ahead. Seriously, call ahead. If you need or want amenities, don’t wait until you’re checking in to make your requests. Visit the hotel website to see what’s available, whether it’s extra bedding, a microwave, a steamer or a room in a specific quiet area, and make your requests in advance. This is especially important during big conferences, when hotels are often packed.
Turn off electronic devices. Bed is for sleep, not for late-night texting, answering e-mail or updating your Twitter. Take care of business before you hit the mattress. Remember “text neck”? There’s a bedtime version of it. It’s called whiplash, and it’s what happens when you’re propped up on pillows, with your spine poorly aligned while you type away with your chin on your chest. Heaven help you if you fall asleep that way. You will feel it in the morning.
Download a white-noise app. Yes, I just told you to turn off your electronic devices, but this is different. While it may sound contradictory to use noise as a sleep aid, the sound waves from white noise muffle other sounds that can keep you up at night. TMSoft is one of many great white-noise apps.
Aromatherapy. From scented candles to essential oils, many people swear by scent for relaxation and slumber. Essential oils can be diluted and lightly sprayed on pillows, or dabbed onto a soft cloth and placed in the pillowcase. Scented candles provide aroma and ambiance, but should always be extinguished before going to sleep. Scents most often associated with relaxation include jasmine, vanilla and lavender. Voluspa has an excellent three-pack of travel candles that will help get you through even the smokiest of Vegas hotels.
And last but not least…
Trade that nightcap for a cup of tea. No one expects you to teetotal your way through every party, but at least on your first night, resist the open-bar extravaganzas. Alcohol will make you sleepy, but it won’t result in quality rest. Opt for a cup of herbal tea in your room while you unpack and unwind, and hit the show floor on day one ready to make those connections!
For more tips about sleep and travel, visit the National Sleep Foundation.
Jenna Andre is a total gearhead who also appreciates the simpler things in life. Email her at Jenna.Andre@ynotcam.com.