I can’t sleep on the road, which sucks because my job requires a significant amount of time away from my home. I toss and turn for a good part of the night, waking up to worry about whether or not I’ve missed the alarm. Even when I’m not worried, I can’t get comfortable and fall into a restful sleep.
Then it’s time to wake up.
Most of my colleagues live in other cities and few have seen me look like I’ve had a good night’s sleep. Back home, I wake up feeling somewhat healthy and rested. On the road, I wake up with a sore neck and dark circles under my eyes.
I don’t dare take sleeping pills, even overseas, because I once took an Ambien and slept through a fire alarm in a dodgy hotel in London. But I didn’t sleep through it entirely. I woke up, heard the alarm, and decided that I would take my chances staying in my room because, as I told myself, “death isn’t coming for me, tonight.”
Yeah, what? Never again.
One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep in a hotel room is to avoid the hotel room, which is why I’ve tried to ramp down my travel significantly. When I do go somewhere, I’m employing two strategies: knocking out a day trip, or booking longer trips and lumping in a lot of work so I can spend more blocks of time at home.
I’ve also cut out alcohol, which is supposed to encourage a more restful night’s sleep. It’s been 18 days since my last drink, and, with two trips under my belt, its positive effects are yet to be felt.
I know there are tips and techniques for a better night’s sleep in a hotel. I do them all, including blackout shades on the window and going to bed hydrated. I think the best I can hope for is to come to terms with my inability to sleep on the road. Instead of complaining about it, I’m trying to embrace it as part of the experience. I know that, when I get home, my bed is waiting.
Sometimes coming to an understanding is the best way to feel better when your body doesn’t cooperate with your brain.