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Give your overnight guests a comfortable place to rest their weary heads.

The many demands of the holidays can bring on some serious stress. Shopping. Wrapping. Baking. Decorating. Battling inclement weather. On top of all that, you’re going to be entertaining and hosting holiday guests this year. That’s enough pressure to make anyone downright Grinch-y.

From your guests’ perspective, it’s not always a jolly arrangement either. We’ve already chronicled how a phenomenon known as the “first-night effect” makes it difficult to get a good night’s rest away from home. And tired guests can quickly become irritated, cranky guests.

To help everyone sleep a little more soundly this holiday season, we’ve got a number of ways you can create welcoming, hospitable guest sleeping quarters in your home. You’ll find these quick tips easy enough to tackle before everyone arrives, and your guests will appreciate that you went out of your way to make their stay special.

Be a good host: Act like a guest.

Try spending the night in your guest room. It’s the best way to identify any shortcomings of the space that could use some attention. You might not realize that the sheets are scratchy, the pillow is lumpy and that old alarm clock has an irritating, low-level humming noise until you actually try sleeping in that environment yourself.

Cover all the essentials.

One vital part of getting quality sleep is the bed. So start there when outfitting your guest room:

  • Clean, comfortable sheets are a must.
  • Lay out an extra blanket after you freshened it up with a fine mist of linen spray or placed it in the dryer on fluff cycle for a few minutes.
  • Go the extra mile by making the bed with several pillows of varying firmness.
  • How old is that mattress in the guest room again? If it’s at least 7 years old, it may be time to update.

Take a good look at the window dressing in your guest room too. Blackout drapes keep the room dark and more conducive for sound sleeping. Insulated curtains cut down on any nasty drafts common at this time of year.

Add a few creature comforts.

Your guests will come with baggage. (Feel free to insert jokes about your sister’s life drama here.) Clear some closet space or empty a drawer in the guest bedroom if you can. If that’s not feasible, put a luggage stand or garment rack in the room. It’s a small touch that makes a big difference.

In a dream world, electronics would stay out of the bedroom to prevent blue light brain stimulation, but your guests will most likely end up taking their smartphones and tablets to the bed with them. Place a power strip on the night stand to put a charging station within easy reach. Write down your Wi-Fi password on a card as well. No one will have to feel like they’re bothering you to ask for it.

Admit it. You sometimes stub your toe on the way to the kitchen or bathroom at night. Imagine having to navigate a dark AND unfamiliar home. Spare your guests the hassle and the dangers. Put a few bottles of water in the guest room the day your guests arrive. And to make those inevitable trips to the bathroom easier, install a nightlight with a yellow- or orange-hued lightbulb that illuminates the path without a jarring blast of bright light.

No guest bedroom? More than one guest?

You may not have the luxury of having a dedicated guest bedroom for everyone who will spend the night. So you’ll have to be a bit more creative to ensure everyone can get some rest:

  • If you’re feeling generous, give up your bedroom to your guest and you take the sofa. You probably fall asleep watching Netflix out there a lot already.
  • Set up a temporary bedroom using an airbed or feather bed that is easily stored when not in use. You may even have room for an extra innerspring mattress under your bed that you can slide out when company comes. All these options benefit from the addition of a mattress topper.
  • Whether guests are sleeping on the sofa or on the floor, consider setting up a folding privacy screen if they will be camping out in the public spaces of your home. Not everyone gets up on the same schedule, so a screen affords some extra time hidden away from the action.

It’s the thought that counts.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect holiday. There’s no such thing as a perfect host, either. Focus on enjoying the extended time you get to share with family and friends when they spend the night. Regardless of how well everyone sleeps, your guests will be grateful that you went out of your way to open your home for the holidays.

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