“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” ~ W.C. Fields
Whether exhibiting or attending, trade shows are hard work. You need lots of energy and a positive attitude. Sleep deprivation affects intellect, decision making and mood. I’ve found ways to get some shuteye while traveling across different time zones and living in hotels.
- No booze! Traveling to different cities and partaking in the local restaurant scene is a perk of participating in a trade show. Research shows you may fall asleep after a nightcap, but you won’t stay asleep. Refrain from alcohol while traveling.
- Eat lean and green. That Fettucine Alfredo and garlic bread you just ate tasted amazing but you’ll regret it later. Laying down after a big meal is uncomfortable and will disrupt your sleep. Instead, have a dinner of lean meat and greens and don’t overeat. Not only will you feel and sleep better, but you won’t come home three pounds heavier.
- Be particular about your hotel room. Front desk personnel have flexibility assigning hotel rooms. They also want to be accommodating.
- Ask for a room away from elevators, ice machines and housekeeping areas.
- Rooms on the highest floor are quieter.
- Corner rooms are quieter.
- Ask if there are rooms recently remodeled. They’re more comfortable.
- Make sure your hotel room isn’t close to a construction area.
- Don’t be afraid to ask to change rooms. Noisy neighbors, ice machines or being next to a hospitality suite will keep you up.
Offer a gratuity to the front desk representative upon check in. They’ll appreciate it and will help you get the room you want. Oh, and once you get that perfect room, keep it cool and dark.
- Use the hotel fitness center. They all have them, so there’s no excuse. According to a National Sleep Foundation study, a single exercise session of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise reduced the time it took participants to fall asleep compared to a night with no exercise.
- Turn off your devices early! Avoid emails, texts and social media. When it’s time for dreamland nothing will keep you from relaxing more than glaring at a computer screen. According to Web MD this is called Cognitive Stimulation. Whatever you call it, it’s not good.
- Turn off the TV. What is it about being in a hotel room that makes us want to watch every HBO program ever produced? Turn off the set and relax.
- Write down your woes. If you can’t turn off your thoughts when it’s time to sleep, writing down worries helps. There’s something about transferring concerns from head to paper that’s liberating.
- Travel with an electric fan. Or a small white noise machine. Don’t laugh. This works. You can’t always count on the hotel to have a fan. I pack a small fan that doesn’t take up much room in my luggage. The white noise masks common hotel sounds. For a one-two punch, turn on the fan on the hotel heating system and use your own fan or sound machine to boot. I’ve suggested this technique to people and they always thank me for the tip – after eye-rolling.
While participating in a trade show if you don’t snooze, you lose. Sleeping while on the road isn’t always easy but consistently practicing these eight easy tips will help.