By David Owen
My wife can fall asleep in a room in which all the lights are turned on and sunlight is streaming onto her face, while I can be awakened from a deep sleep by the message light on my cell phone. My friend Tony is similarly afflicted. His wife, in sympathy, bought an LED headlamp, so that she could read in bed without bothering him, but every time she turns to gaze lovingly at his sleeping form she zaps him in the eyes and wakes him up.
Hotel rooms can be a huge problem, even when I'm traveling without my wife. During a golf trip to San Antonio last year, I had to use a Kleenex box and two wash cloths to disable the electric eye on the light switch in the bathroom, which blasted me with daylight-level illumination when I got up in the night to take a whiz:
Because it's hard to knock out all the potentially annoying light sources in a hotel room, I now travel with a sleep mask. I've tried several, and the one I like the best is made by Dream Essentials. It comes with a pair of ear plugs and what the company's website describes as "a complimentary drawstring carry pouch," and it makes me look like the Human Fly:
It's especially useful during summertime golf trips to Britain and Ireland, because at that time of year at that latitude the sun never quite goes all the way down. I like it so much that I now use it at home, too.
A sleep mask to avoid, unless you have a hat size of about 5 or enjoy feeling that your eyes are being squeezed flat by an elastic band, is this one, from Samsonite, even though it also comes with ear plugs:
During my recent buddies trip to Scotland and Ireland, I spoke so convincingly about the benefits of wearing a sleep mask that J.P. went out immediately and bought one at a drugstore up the street from our hotel in Campbeltown, near Machrihanish. He now swears by it, too.
As much as I like to sleep at night, I also enjoy overdosing on caffeine in the morning. That can be a challenge on days when our first tee time is so early that we have to be out the door before the hotel's restaurant is open for breakfast. Hotel rooms in the U.K. and Ireland seldom have coffee makers, but they almost always have electric teapots, which can be used to make instant coffee (or tea). The supplied instant coffee stinks, of course, so I carry the kind made by Starbucks, called VIA Ready Brew. It contains both dried coffee and "microground" real coffee. It's expensive, but it's actually good: