How to Ensure a Good Night’s Sleep on a Cruise Ship

How to Ensure a Good Night’s Sleep on a Cruise Ship

In this article you will discover five tips for a great night’s sleep on a cruise from Sarah Cummings of

Nothing can ruin a fun-filled relaxing day on your cruise quicker than a terrible sleep. Not only will the night feel like it will never end, the following day will be spoilt too.

Many people sleep better on cruise ships than they have in years on land, something to do with the stress-free lifestyle and the gentle rock of the ship in the water. A minority however fall into the category of boat-based insomniacs, the following advice is aimed at you guys.

Follow the 5 steps below and you will dramatically increase your odds of sailing away blissfully to the land of nod each and every night.

Block out the light

Many things factor in how well an individual can sleep, from the length of the bed, the number of cushions, to the heat of the room. One thing however is often criminally overlooked – light pollution.

I love ocean view and balcony cabins but they have one big downside – when the sun comes up they can sometimes be filled with frankly anti-social amounts of light.

If you’re a light sleeper – that’s someone who sleeps lightly, not someone who likes to sleep in the light – then there are a few things you can do. For starters before you hit the hay, pin your curtains together to make sure light pollution doesn’t leak through.

I’ve even heard of some crazy cats going one step further and duct taping their curtains to ensure not a single photon seeps in.

Next up, carry a sleep mask. You know the little blindfold thing they hand out on long haul flights. These little sleep aids are incredibly lightweight and super useful when it comes to blocking out errant light beams.

Thirdly and finally, carry a little black tape, then if your cabin has any electronic devices with those pesky little flashing lights (Arrgh! I hate them so much), you can just stick a square of black tape over and forget about them.

Make a smart cabin choice

People, not all cruise ship cabins are created equally. While an ocean view is preferable for many reasons, if you know you sleep poorly then selecting an inside cabin could be the way to go.

Firstly, as we mentioned above, inside cabins have the benefit of being windowless and therefore perfectly black when the lights go out. Secondly if you’re worried about seasickness then an inside cabin will be a better choice for you, the closer you are to the centre of the ship, the less the sensation of movement.

Cabins away from service areas, stairs and elevators will also tend to be quieter, meaning you will reduce the risk of your slumber being interrupted by the chitter chatter of late nighters.

Cabins near the pool deck are often the most sought after but if you’re a light sleeper I’d say stay well clear.

Don’t eat too late

Ah, what! I know, one of the best things about a cruise holiday is how good the food is and the fact it’s always available. I’m not saying don’t indulge yourself once in a while. It is your holiday after all and you definitely deserve it! All, I’m saying just watch when you eat.

Grabbing a slice of pizza at midnight might do wonders to satisfy your cravings but it will do your efforts to sleep no favours at all. When we place our head upon our pillow we want our body to be relaxed as possible. A heavy meal or snack before bed will send your digestive system into overdrive. With all that churning going on down below is it any wonder you can’t get no sleep?

Put a cap on the nightcap

Yep, first I came for your food and now I’m coming for your drink! Sorry.

Again there is nothing wrong with a few drinks, a cruise wouldn’t be the same without a cocktail or four. What I’m saying is give yourself a window of an hour or two between your last drink and your bedtime. Sleep and alcohol are not great bedfellows.

Alcohol can definitely help individuals fall asleep quicker but it plays havoc with the brain’s ability to enter deep wave sleep, this is the truly good rejuvenating stuff that comes later in the night. That’s why you tend to wake up frequently during the night after a few bevvies.

Oh, and less you drink just before bed, the less times you will have to get up to got to the bathroom in the night of course.

Don’t watch any disaster movies

I’m serious about this one. I don’t know what it is about people (or maybe just people I know), but so many folk are their own worst enemies. I’ve had friends who have watched the Blair Witch Project before going camping or Air Crash Investigations before flying away on holiday and then surprise, surprise, they have a terrible trip.

Do yourself a favour and avoid any films that involve ships or boats in the run up to your cruise. Films featuring ships or boats tend to, 99.9% of the time, involve said ship or boat sinking. That is not the mental image you want to pop into your mind when you lay down to bed at night.

This advice is especially important for first time cruisers. Whatever you do, fight the urge to watch Titanic, The Poseidon Adventure or The Perfect Storm, or any of these other sinking boat classics.

Well, there you have it cruise fans – five top tips to help you cruise away to a good night’s rest. I hope they help. Happy sailing!


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Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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