Working the night shift

sleepSometimes, for some trips, you have to work the night shift. This is the case anytime I go to Manila. On the one hand, it’s great! Since the office I’m visiting is open during American hours, I never get jet lagged (exhausted, but not jet lagged). On the other hand, it can be really hard to sleep during the day. Even though I know I need to sleep in order to be at my fullest for work, the sun beckons! The pool, the shopping, the sights all call to me as I lay on my bed unable to sleep. Over the years, though, I’ve come up with a few ways to sleep even when I would rather be out doing something else.

(Also, for some reason, anytime I go to Manila I have “Night Moves” by Bob Seger stuck in my head. Anyway….. )

Here are some of the ways I convince myself to sleep during the day:

Make it as dark as possible. Some hotel drapes do a great job of blocking out all light. Others, not so much. For a while I carried clothespins with me to close the gap in between panels, which worked really well. However, a few years ago a reader said she just uses the pants hanger from the hotel closet. Genius! Works just as well, and I don’t have to carry anything extra.

Eye mask. While I don’t like sleeping with things over my face if I can avoid it, sometimes there’s just no better way to block out light. Even though I wake up with it gone, evidently ripped off and thrown onto the floor in the night, it really helps me get to sleep.

Talk to the front desk. Definitely let the front desk know if you’re working at night and sleeping during the day. During my trip to Manila this month, the hotel had construction on several floors. Once I let them know I needed to sleep during the day, they moved me to a quieter location. They also scheduled my maid service for nighttime.curtains closed

Plan your food. Many hotels don’t have 24 hour room service, which can make eating at off times tricky. Make sure you know the situation ahead of time, and plan for a trip to the grocery store or a room with a refrigerator if needed.

White noise. I use my White Noise app on my phone whenever I sleep on the road. It helps at night, but is super important during the day. People just don’t necessarily think to be quiet at 2pm, and white noise of some sort will help block a lot of the doors slamming, people talking, and cars racing by.

Do not disturb sign. This is critical. Evidently, various hotel employees go in and out of our rooms throughout the day for whatever reason. If you’re sleeping, that could be rage-inducing (for those of us who get really cranky when woken up for no reason. Not that I know anything about that.). Put out your Do Not Disturb sign, and lock your door!

Last resort. If you know you will have issues sleeping, whether it’s because of a time difference or the daylight itself, then plan for some sort of pharmaceutical help. My step-dad likes melatonin, I like Tylenol PM, and I know a lot of people that use Ambien or other prescription drugs.

Sleeping during the day can be really hard, but it’s definitely doable. Try these tricks, and see which ones work for you!

And for your auditory pleasure….

Readers, do you ever have to work at night and sleep during the day? What helps you sleep?


  1. I prefer prescription zanaflex as a sleep aid. It is a muscle relaxant that I take every night a hour before I want to sleep. I get muscle spasms in my lower back that will keep me from sleeping. If I’m flying even a short flight in coach I take a quarter of a tablet.

  2. All great tips. Love the hanger. What I hate more than anything, being granted a late checkout to say 2pm for extra sleep and then being woken up by determined maids at 11am or 12pm banging on the door. This happens all the time even in the 5 stars. Ridiculous. Happen to anyone else?

  3. and to add to my last comment, I always put the do not disturb sign on the door. Maids still ignore it on checkout day. They figure I just left it there and already left the building.

  4. Love the coathanger suggestion. I always use a nappy pin or similar, but they do damage the curtains and that makes me feel a little guilty.

    Is there any way to stop maids knocking?? We’ve had this problem in several hotels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.