When you’re only in town for a limited time on a business trip, every moment counts. You want to work hard and (perhaps) play hard but whether it’s being on top of your game in meetings or making the most of a free evening in a new city, feeling rested is key for your motivation.
Inevitably a 24-hour itinerary will conspire to make that bedrock of energy and output – a decent night’s sleep – feel elusive when you’re working away.
A recent survey conducted by Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts found almost a third (31%) of travellers feel that their sleep pattern being unsettled is the worst thing about business travel. So not surprisingly, “somewhere I will get a good night’s sleep” is up there as the number one consideration when picking a hotel.
While a disrupted sleep pattern, the anxiety of unfamiliar surroundings or having enjoyed a tipple or two at the bar may keep you awake at night, there are plenty of simple tricks you can implement before you hit the sack, to help you get a restful sleep and wake up refreshed and ready for a jam-packed day.
Go out and do something
First things first, you’ll want to actually feel tired when you hit the hay. It might sound obvious but following a stressful day of meetings your body is still pumped with adrenaline and cortisol which could make having an early night impossible. Get the stress out of your system after work by making downtime a priority. A workout, a walk around the city, or a low-key dinner with a colleague can help you switch off and encourage relaxation. No shop talk, however, keep it light.
Create the right conditions
When you’re used to drifting off with the same light levels, sounds, smells, temperature, and comforts every night, sleeping in an unfamiliar setting can feel like an assault on your senses.
From taking a pillow case or comforting room spray from home with you to packing your favourite pyjamas; recreating the familiarity of home can make all the difference. Even a pair of cosy bed socks could boost a good night’s sleep.
A study at the Sleep Laboratory in Basel, Switzerland, found that popping on a pair of socks at bedtime could aid slumber because as we approach the threshold of sleep, the body’s temperature regulation system redistributes heat from your core to your extremities. Having cold feet demands more from this system and upsets the natural release of melatonin.
Unplug and switch off
After a day of back-to-back meetings, the temptation can be to spend the evening catching up on emails and wading through the pile of work that has built up during the day. This is a concern shared by 80% of business travellers according to Crowne Plaza, but it’s all about knowing your limits.
Our always-on culture can be counterproductive in the long run, leaving us lying awake stressing about work and missing out on valuable recharge time. The simple act of responding to an email or text causes the body to produce cortisol, which is aversive to sleep. In addition, too much light from video screens at bedtime affects melatonin (the sleep-wake cycle hormone) production giving the body the impression you aren’t ready for sleep.
Give yourself a screen curfew - it’s a helpful way to draw a line between work and downtime. Make use of your phone’s sleep mode, it means you won’t get the interruptive alerts of emails, messages and social media notifications.
A study by Harvard Medical School recommends switching off at least an hour before going to sleep.
Introduce a bedtime ritual
A bedtime ritual acts as a cue to your mind and body that it’s time to shift gears and start winding down – particularly useful if your body clock’s out of kilter after travelling. Any combination of relaxing activities will do: a soak in the bath, a meditation, a warm drink, a book, your favourite playlist.
If a warm bath before bed is a rare treat when you’re at home make the most of it while you are away, it could be particularly soporific. Researchers suggest the sudden drop in temperature when you leave the tub mimics the natural drop that occurs in the body as we’re approaching sleep, acting as a cue for relaxation. One study found that those who had a warm bath before bedtime reported falling asleep faster and more soundly.
If you have a big day ahead of you, try a meditation app such as Headspace or Calm for a Zen-like feeling without having to leave your room. Then it’s just a hop in to bed and you’re done for the day.
Choose a sleep-friendly hotel
Crowne Plaza understands the importance of a restful night’s sleep for its business guests. With that in mind, it has created its Sleep Advantage® Programme. A holistic approach to sleep you can guarantee peace by opting for a room in a designated Quiet Zone, and peace of mind with a Guaranteed Wake-Up Call then snuggle down in the luxurious comfort of premium bedding.
And for those who need a little help nodding off, there is the satisfyingly calming aromatherapy Sleep Kit from This Works®. Made from 100% essential oils, its lavender pillow spray and eucalyptus pulse oil are like a nightcap for the soul, helping guests to unwind, breathe easy, and drift off after a stressful day.
Crowne Plaza also understands that the little lifestyle choices you make throughout the day can contribute to how relaxed and refreshed you feel. It offers advice on local running, cycling and walking routes so you can de-stress and wind down after a stimulating day of meetings before, and can provide the healthy food options you need to help keep you energised throughout the day, with its Fast and Fresh menu.
To find out more about how Crowne Plaza is changing the face of modern business travel, or to book a room, visit Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts