You take great pride in your hotel’s appearance and vibe. Your front desk staff warmly greets every guest, the walls and floors exude comforting tones, and your list of amenities is vast. Your hotel goes above and beyond to make your guests feel at home and get the best sleep possible.
However, in the morning at your complimentary breakfast, you see guests yawning and hear them complaining about getting no sleep the previous night.
Before you start blaming yourself for not being accommodating enough or not offering comfier beds, you have to recognize that you are not actually in control of their night’s sleep. The problem of people having trouble sleeping in hotel rooms is common.
The First Night Effect
Research shows that on the first night in a new place, people naturally don’t go into a typical deep sleep. While the right hemisphere of the brain goes into its usual deep sleep, the left hemisphere stays vigilant to combat threats or danger. When we’re used to sleeping somewhere, we don’t expect threats. Therefore, we sleep soundly. In an unfamiliar environment, the slightest sound could be interpreted as a potential danger.
While you can’t entirely prevent the first night effect, as it is an instinctual behavior, there are things you can do to reduce the effect and help your guests sleep a little better. The key is to not just make your hotel rooms cozier, but to make the rooms as much like your guests’ homes as you can. The environment needs to be somewhat familiar.
Here we will address the five different senses and give you sleeping tips to calm the mind:
Touch: Offer a Selection of Pillows and Blankets
While some guests may bring in their own pillows and blankets from home, some may accept the struggle of getting positioned just right on supplied bed linens. Even if you personally find that pillow and blanket comfortable, each individual is different, and it all depends on what they’re used to.
Offer soft, firm, short, and tall pillows, and thick, thin, light, and heavy blankets. Even offer pillows and blankets in varying sizes. This allows guests to choose what helps them sleep best, which is likely what they sleep with at home.
Make sure your guests are aware of this service. In fact, make sure guests are aware of any of the services mentioned here. As they may be shy or simply not realize you offer this, they might not think to ask about it. Therefore, it’s essential you take the initiative and let your guests know how you can help them get a better night’s sleep.
Smell: Offer Spritz Scents
Chances are, the smell of your hotel rooms isn’t familiar to your guests. And, unluckily for those spending the night, their sense of smell is going to play a strong role in how they sleep. When the eyes are closed, senses like smell and sound become elevated. Therefore, when guests are sleeping, the unfamiliar smell is going to seem off, making the brain more alert.
To combat this, offer your guest a variety of spritz scents. Similar to air fresheners, they consist of water, alcohol, and essential oils. You can whip up a wide range of concoctions, but remember to stick with common and familiar scents like lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon. This variety of essential oils will give guests the opportunity to choose a blend that smells like the scents they use in their own home.
Taste: Offer Relaxing Herbal Tea
While there are plenty of services you can provide to help your guests maintain sleep throughout the night, there are also tricks to help them relax before they doze off. This will, in turn, make it easier for them to actually fall asleep. Chamomile tea is a great stress reliever. Before bed, guests can sip on the tea and let it calm their senses and tell their bodies it’s okay to relax.
Chamomile tea’s sleep-inducing properties make it a must to include in your hotel rooms. Simply leave chamomile tea bags by the coffeemaker or microwave with a small card detailing the benefits of drinking this herbal beverage before bed.
Sight: Offer Nightlights
Being in an unfamiliar environment can mean stumbling around at night to find things. Or worse, your senses can become elevated out of fright because you are unable to see anything. To combat this, offer nightlights in the bathroom (make sure guests can turn them off, though, if they don’t want any light!).
This will allow the brain to relax because the guest can see there are no threats around. Imagine what the mind experiences in total darkness in an unfamiliar place – you can’t see a threat, but you fear one could still be there. Offering nightlights gives the mind one less thing to worry about.
Sound: Offer White Noise Machines
We’ve already gone over how people can become hypersensitive when sleeping somewhere new. Even the smallest crackle or knock can have someone jumping out of bed wondering who’s there. And it always turns out to be nothing.
Consider that your guests might benefit from soothing sounds, such as the pitter patter of rain or the smooth ‘woosh’ of waves at the beach. Calming sounds will help drown out other disturbances and relax the mind.
There are a variety of white noise machines available, but try to choose one with a wide range of sound options, allowing your guests to select the sound most soothing to them. For example, people from commonly rainy and stormy locations may love the sound of rain, whereas someone from a drier location may be frightened and more alert when they hear raindrops.
Work with a High Quality Linen Provider
We hope these tips will help you combat the effects of the brain on a guest’s first night’s stay at your hotel.
If you are looking for pillowcases and linens to help your guests sleep more deeply, contact Dempsey at 1-800-378-8060. We will work together to create that perfect night of sleep, every night.