Skilled and Sleepy: Tips for Sleeping in Uncomfortable and Unpredictable Situations

by Julie on August 11, 2017

In today‘s hectic, fast-paced world, most of us are over-worked and under-rested.

Keeping up with our daily schedules is hard enough even if we put all of our natural human needs aside – but count the hours of necessary sleep, as well as eating breaks, in and the twenty-four hours which we are afforded are quite simply not enough.

Lengthening our days is, sadly, not an option and we have all been forced to notice how continuous lack of sleep makes us less productive, less attentive and overall prone to mistakes and emotional outbursts. Having this in mind, being able to have a quality nap in unusual places and at surprising times becomes an extremely important skill of the average modern worker.

Luckily for all of us, the skill is not as hard to develop as it might seem at first glance. In an effort to help our fellow sleep-deprived sufferers out, we have compiled a list of useful tips for sleeping in the most frequently encountered uncomfortable situations, so let us dig in.

Staying at a hotel

Hotel rooms are tricky: some people find them calming and are able to have a good night‘s sleep there, while others do not take well to unfamiliar surroundings and find themselves getting increasingly anxious as they toss and turn in a bed which is not their own.

Do not despair if you belong to the latter group – there is a number of things you can do to improve your hotel sleep.

First of all, let some air enter the room

Crack a window open, turn on a fan (you can even bring your own fan along with you if your hotel does not have them) or turn the temperature down – increased air movement will help you relax and enable you to cosily wrap yourself in warm covers. If the covers are a problem, you can always bring your own pillow or even a light blanket with you for an added sense of homely security.

Do not be afraid to ask for a change of rooms

If the one that you find yourself in is too noisy for your liking – you have a right to peaceful rest and the hotel staff are there to help you. Finally, if you give all of the above tips a try, but still find yourself riddled by insomnia, relax and do not let the anxiety take you over. Get up, walk around the room, do some stretching exercises, read a book or a magazine – but be careful to keep the light low, as it can quickly disrupt your sleepiness even further.

Sleeping on a plane

Those unavoidable business trips might seriously drain whatever leftover energy you may have if you are unable to get comfortable enough to take a decent nap on a plane. Few of us are able to afford first-class seats, but the good news is that there are cheaper, and just as effective, options for the taking.

Forget the latest fashions for a moment – it is no surprise that even the biggest celebrities are frequently seen emerging from their flights in sweats or yoga pants. Dress down, put some light sneakers on, relax and sink into your seat. Comfort is absolutely key on a long-distance flight or a train trip. Having a travel pillow is also an excellent idea. You will have no trouble fitting it into your bag and putting it around your neck will make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep.

An inflatable pillow is even better, as its firmness can be adjusted. Throw a sleep mask and some headphones into the mix and you might forget that you are on public transport, rather than resting in your beloved bed. You should also avoid alcohol and heavy food – those are sure to keep you awake. Over-the-counter sleeping pills might help you out, but they should be consumed with care and you might want to consult your doctor before taking them.

Napping at the office

We have all been there – there is work to be done, but our eyes refuse to stay open, leaving us staring at the computer screen in a zombie-like way. So, instead of just „powering though“ the half of your day, see if you can make a sustainable plan to re-start during office hours by taking a nap.

But my boss would never allow it

A half-hour nap can do wonders for your productivity – you‘re in luck if you have a flexible manager that‘s in touch with the science of productivity because there is actually a well-rounded body of research and studies that show that people who take a short nap during business hours are actually more productive.

If you do decide to take a short nap at the office, finding the right spot to do that is your first task. Avoid falling asleep in the lounge – those sofas might look tempting, but if some investors or important clients happen to pop in, you will be in trouble. A supply closet or a phone booth is probably your safest bet – just grab a light blanket and you might be surprised by how comfortable you get.

Your new best friend – a portable air mattress

This one ties well into the previous tip, since a good air bed of the right size can be just the thing for an office nap, as well as those bony metal seats at airports.

If you are visiting friends or relatives, there is a good chance of you ending up on an inflatable mattress for the night – and they are rarely a glowing example of comfort. You might need to get creative in order to make your sleep count.

Something as simple as spreading some extra bed sheets on top of the mattress makes a big difference. This is because the air inside the mattress gets cold in chilly weather or hot in warmer temperatures, so you might end up struggling to keep yourself comfortably warm during the night. An additional cover will solve this problem in no time.

You should also try and place the mattress on a carpet or other soft surface in order to avoid sliding or squeaking. If the air mattress that you find yourself on does not have a built-in headboard, place it against a wall to create one – it will prevent your pillow from falling off and thus improve the quality of your sleep.

Last but not least, take some time to adjust the firmness of the mattress. Most modern mattresses are equipped with built-in pumps, so getting the balance between too firm and too soft right is not at all a difficult task. TheSleepStudies.com recently published the results of their year-long testung and review air beds of all shapes and sizes – you can see it here.

Sleep tight

You might not know where exactly you will find yourself dozing off the next night, but that does not mean that your comfort is as uncertain. Equipped with the right set of knowledge, you will be able to make your bed pretty much anywhere and rest assured knowing that you are just as skilled as you are sleepy.

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