When we consider the factors most important to getting a good night’s rest, many of us overlook the sense of touch. But because the skin is our largest organ, tactile sensations can play just as large of a role in sleeping well as any of the other four senses.
- Find the Goldilocks zone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the optimum temperature for sleep is somewhere between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on a variety of factors, including bedding, pajamas, and the individual. However, most sleep experts agree that the cooler end of that range is more conducive to sleep, as research has shown that warmer environments can lead to more wake time and a lighter sleep overall.
- Gentle, but firm. Of course, your sleep surface – i.e., mattress – plays a huge role in how well you sleep. Although popular wisdom tends to favor ultra-firm mattresses, the National Sleep Foundation found that more supple surfaces produce better sleep results, particularly for those suffering from back pain. As for pillows, as long as your head and neck are supported, the firmness is totally up to the comfort of the sleeper.
- Travel with a familiar object. In lieu of lugging a favorite pillow with you, which can take up valuable suitcase space, try packing just the pillowcase. Feeling its texture when you lay your head down can provide precisely the soothing familiarity you need as you drift off. For added comfort, bring your own linen set.
- Set the scene. If you usually sleep with a humidifier and the hotel doesn’t have one, run a hot shower and leave the bathroom door open, suggests travel website Gadling. Another option is to place a wet towel over a vent.
- Soak – but early on. A warm bath may seem like the perfect sleep elixir, but raising your body temperature too close to bedtime may hinder sleep, says J. Todd Arnedt, PhD, director of the University of Michigan Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program. Instead, soak several hours before bedtime so your body has a chance to cool down.
Armella Stepan is a 25-year luxury hotelier and the founder of INTENTIONS, which offers high-quality bed and bath products that combine gentle breathing exercises and restful words into unique product design intended to promote relaxation. facebook.com/intentionsforsleep