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Sleeping in a noisy hotel room

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

After a week of moving around, sleeping in five different beds, I finally had a great night's sleep last night. I was back in my own leaba, with my fancy pants sheets, electric blanket and, best of all, pure silence.

Because I live in the middle of Leitrim, I'm blessed with a quiet backdrop for sleeping. I'll occasionally hear the odd badger, or shagging swan, but mostly it's Oh So Quiet for me.

Which can make travelling difficult. I'm not used to noise at night, and subsequently I can find it quite difficult to get to sleep when I'm faced with a noisy hotel.

Unfortunately for me, this is what I had for most of last week. In Hook, there were banging doors all night long. I was awake from about 5am and disturbed for the rest of the night by BANG.

BANG.

BANG.

Seriously, fix that. I understand that doors need to close automatically, but there are ways to reduce that noise. At one point, a door slammed so loudly that my bed moved.

In Oxford and Brighton, it was the noise of the city that kept me up. Shouty groups of revellers became street cleaners and bin men, and I lay awake listening to them all. In both places it was so hot that I had no choice but to sleep with the window open, which made matters a whole lot worse.

The earplugs that I usually keep in my washbag had been left at home, so I had no choice but to grin and bear it. By the time I got to Brighton though, a friendly barman at The Blind Tiger saved the day by giving me a pair from behind the bar.

If you're faced with a noisy hotel room, here are a few ideas to help you cope...

Earplugs
Well, it's obvious, but they do the trick. They an be a little irritating to sleep with, but so can people, and that doesn't stop us.

Music
If the outside world has gotten you wired up, try and tune everyone out with some calming music from your iPod. Or, even better, listen to Stephen Fry reading a Harry Potter book. This has the dual benefit of sedating the mind as well as increasing the chance of a Snape dream.

Move Around
If you're exhausted but the noise has gotten you cross, you might be switching over into insomnia. Get up, go to the bathroom and then get back into bed. Or switch positions - put your head at the feet end of the bed. This always works for my friend Sam when she can't sleep.

Bitching
If the noise is coming from outside the hotel, there's not much the management can do about it. But if it's inside (yelling in another room, music, hallway noise etc) then call reception and have them do something about it. That's what they're there for.

Where's the noisiest place you've stayed? Do you have any tips for sleeping through it?

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