Did you know that it is Sleep Awareness Week? (Or that Sleep Awareness Week was a thing?) The first time I heard the term “Sleep Zealot” was on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, and it struck me as perfect. I looooooooove my sleep. I am happiest with 8 or more hours of good quality sleep, and need at least 7. Without that, I get fairly cranky. So, I have worked pretty hard to make sure my sleep environment is as conducive to sleep as possible.
Of course, I also travel for work on a fairly regular basis, so I had to figure out what would work in hotel rooms as well. I have made a handful of purchases that help me get my sleep, whether I am at home or on the road.
I love ear plugs. They serve a couple purposes. The first is obvious, they dampen sound. I know people who are afraid to try them because they are worried they won’t hear their alarm or some noise if there is an emergency. The truth is, they aren’t THAT good. What they do is bring sound down to manageable level, but you can still hear an alarm, or even have a conversation while wearing them. It just quiets things so you aren’t as aware of every little noise. Which, frankly, makes them perfect for sleeping travelers.
The other thing they do is they act as an alert to my brain that I am getting ready to sleep now. I put them in, and it is like sending a little signal to my body that,”Yes, it’s time for sleep.” This is another reason why I like them both on the road and at home, my ear plugs help settle my brain and signal that it is time for sleeping.
I also wear as sleep mask. It basically works the same way as the ear plugs. It blocks out light, which again, if you are traveling, is incredibly important, as anyone who has ever had a hotel room with a bright light outside their window can attest. In addition, like the earplugs, it serves as a signal to my brain that I am done with the day and now it is time to rest. (I like this silk sleep mask by Alaska Bear.) I wear both the sleep mask and the ear plugs every night – not just while I am on the road. This way they become a sort of evening ritual that puts me in the right space for sleeping.
Sleep Machine – White Noise
I also use a sleep machine. My sister got me into it, and I love it. I have traveled with it, but it is a fairly heavy duty machine. It weighs down my suitcase quite a bit. So, I have taken to leaving that at home and using an app instead. My favorite white noise and background generator app is Noisli. What I love about Noisli is that you don’t need WiFi to use it. That means you can use it for napping on a plane, which is great. Even if I just want to dull out the noise of other people’s conversations or whatnot, I can.
The other thing I like about it, it that it has a timer. So, if I am using it in a hotel, I can set it for white noise for an hour and have it bedside. Like I said, ear plugs don’t eliminate all sound. I can still hear my white noise while wearing them, but it helps dampen hotel noises (like having a room next to an elevator) or home noises (like my dog’s snoring!)
Meditations for Sleep
Finally, the other thing I have purchased for sleep and love, is a yearly membership to Calm. I use it for the daily meditations, but if I am having a night where my mind is racing and I can’t sleep, the Deep Sleep Release and Body Scan meditations almost always do the trick. It is totally worth the $50 subscription per year for the amount I use it. (And they have a bunch of free meditations as well.)