While the housekeeping staff is pretty rigorous about scrubbing the bathroom, vacuuming the carpet, and polishing the tabletops, there are certain commonly used items that rarely, if ever, get a proper clean. Toss a small pack of antibacterial wipes in your luggage and remember to rub down the light switches, telephone, and most importantly the TV remote, as soon as you arrive. According to research published in the Scientific American, the latter has some of the highest levels of bacteria in the average hotel room. Similar to that of the toilet, horrifyingly.
Unfortunately many chemical cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds—gases that have adverse health affects ranging from nose and throat irritation to headaches and nausea. Due to the frequency with which these substances are used in hotel rooms, air quality can be compromised, so try to crack a window and air out your room if possible. Alternatively, invest in a portable purifier which will improve air quality while also eliminating airborne germs.
Jet lag can make you feel a little sleepy at best, dizzy and disoriented at worst. One of the most effective tools at your disposal when you want to get on local time is light. Keep curtains open during the day, but at nighttime create the darkest environment possible by avoiding screens that emit blue light—a wavelength that suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin—and covering any disruptive glow coming from in-room electronics like the TV or alarm clock.
Most hotels use duvets because they can wash the cover quickly and easily between guests. Beware when your bed has been made with a comforter or bedspread, as these are washed far less frequently and can harbor all kinds of bacteria, among other things. If you know your hotel uses bedspreads email them ahead of time and request a freshly laundered one for peace of mind.