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Sleep Tight

A good night’s sleep while traveling starts with the right hotel mattress.

Live Well: Sleep Tight

(Ilustration: Gary Hovland)

Successful travel often hinges on getting a good night’s sleep. And a good night’s sleep can hinge on what you’re sleeping on. While a hotel’s spa, gym, restaurant and other amenities can make a difference, the mattress in your room can be key.

Some hotels partner with premium mattress brands. For instance, The Langham, New York, offers the DUX luxury hotel bed. And Ritz-Carltons around the world boast the Ritz-Carlton Bed designed by Stearns & Foster.

Most hotels will tell you what mattress brand they use, according to Logan Block, founder of the sleep product review and sleep information site Sleepopolis. “I’ve talked to a few people who travel quite a bit for work who called up [a hotel] and said, ‘Hey, I just love your mattress,’” Block said. Some even end up buying the same one for their home.

You don’t always have a choice when traveling, but if you’re serious about sleeping well, you might want to consider looking into hotel mattresses before you book. To know what to look for, you’ve got to know what you like.

Some mattresses are made with steel coils, while others are made from different types of foam, from polyurethane to memory foam to latex. “They have different properties, which give them different feels, different advantages and disadvantages,” Block said. A new option is a hybrid with coils wrapped in foam, which isolates motion.

Memory foam is popular for contouring around the body, which can be better for side sleepers, but it also traps body heat. Latex is bouncier, so you don’t sink in as much, and it’s cooler, so it’s better for people who alternate between their backs and sides and people who sleep hot. And, of course, some mattresses are firmer than others.

You can visit mattress manufacturers online and find lots of information about the construction of their products. You can also find reviews of mattresses at sleepopolis.com, and search them by brand, materials, sleep position and a host of other factors. That should give you some idea of what kind of fit you’ll have at your hotel of choice.

If you find yourself with a mattress that’s too soft, Block recommends pulling off the sheets to see if there’s a mattress topper you can remove to firm things up. If you’re a side sleeper and the mattress feels too firm, bringing your own pillow (or requesting extra pillows from the hotel) should help.

And don’t discount the value of pulling the blackout curtains and keeping your phone at a distance to help you get some shut-eye.

To read more articles about travel-related health topics, visit AAA.com/LiveWell.

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