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Monday, March 8, 2010

Sleep deprived on travels

Amy Chen wrote a post on on Monday giving sleeping tips from a sleep concierge at a New York hotel, the Benjamin in Midtown. 

At this hotel, Anya Orlanska, the sleep concierge, recommends using the appropriate pillow, getting a massage before going to bed if fighting jet lag and avoiding too much alcohol or caffeine before bedtime.

The Benjamin also offers "The Art of Sleep" package, Chen writes, starting at $578 for two nights. It includes a consultation with the sleep concierge, a nightly snack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spa treatment, a sleep kit that includes an eye mask and a CD and even a late checkout.

But what about those of us who want to stay in lodging that doesn't offer a special "sleep" package?

I don't have problems sleeping. It amazes me to know that so many people do. The only time I can ever recall struggling to sleep on a trip was the first night of a nearly three-week trip to England and Italy five years ago.

After a sleepless night flying to London, we then had to hit the sack early that night in anticipation of an early wake up the next morning for a flight to Rome. So we found ourselves trying to go to sleep at 10 p.m., just as the England sun was setting. Problem was, my American body thought it was just 4 p.m.

OK, so how can I, as someone who doesn't struggle to sleep, even pretend to offer advice to those who struggle with sleeping on the road? Well, I don't guess I can.

I can only say to do what I've read many marathoners do the night before a race when struggling to fall asleep. Lie still in a dark and quiet room and just relax as best as possible. No, the rest you'll get won't be the same as if you had slept seven hours. But the relaxation will be better than sitting up reading or watching TV.

My wife sometimes struggles to get to sleep. She now uses a white-noise machine we bought in Carmel, Calif., on a trip in 2008 after she struggled to sleep the night before in an eerily quiet bed and breakfast. Sometimes Advil helps, although I'm not a proponent of heavily medicating just to fall asleep.

If you don't have a sound sleeping aid, I have come across a Web site that plays background sounds. So if you have a laptop with you and feel like running it overnight, go to

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