You know those people who brag that they can sleep anywhere? It’s hard not to be jealous of them if you find yourself tossing and turning when in an unfamiliar sleep environment. If you don’t effortlessly fall into a blissful slumber when you’re away from home, you’re not alone. A lot of us have difficulty sleeping in a new or unfamiliar place, even if it’s a luxury hotel. There are actually a few sleep terms generated from this feeling which we’ll explain. The good news is, with a little planning in mind, you can still find healthy sleep in a new environment.
Night one is the toughest
Did you know there’s actually a name for struggling to find rest in a new place? It’s optimistically called “First Night Effect” to imply that your sleep will improve after the first night away from home. Luckily, most travelers find this to be true.
There’s also a term for when you experience trouble staying asleep when traveling, called the “On-Call Effect.” This describes the inability to stay asleep because you’re anxiously awaiting the next day’s events.
Why is it so challenging?
New noises from inside and outside the hotel, an unfamiliar room and bed, uncomfortable room temperature, and even altitude and humidity levels can all contribute to a poor night’s rest compared to what you’re accustomed to. Considering all the barriers to good sleep when we travel, it’s amazing we ever leave home!
Similarly, when traveling, excitement, fun, and change in routine (even very welcome changes like vacations in exotic locations) can interrupt sleep just as stress and worry can.
Planning for good sleep
Sleeping well on the road or abroad is possible with a little advance planning. Recognizing our need to feel our best when we’re traveling, many hotels are introducing amenities to help us sleep better. When planning a trip, look for hotel with snooze-friendly features like blackout curtains, nightlights, high-quality mattresses, and luxurious bedding.
Keep your routine
Don’t forget to keep up your normal sleep routine to maintain healthy sleep patterns wherever you may find yourself. If you usually read a book or listen to a podcast before bed, try to keep that evening routine intact. Eat well, consider the timing of your caffeine intake (cut-off by 2 pm if possible), limit your alcohol and tobacco use, and get some exercise outdoors when possible.
If you’re planning to travel across time zones, be sure to prepare to handle jet lag effectively, so you can enjoy every moment of your travels. Have more questions on sleeping soundly wherever you are in the world? Tweet us @sleepscore!