If you find you’re having trouble sleeping on holiday, don’t blame yourself: it’s your animal instinct kicking in. A new study has shown that one side of our brain remains on special alert when we sleep in a new place, making us more susceptible to disturbances – be it a prowling wolf, a car horn or a subtle change in the light. Knowing that it’s an issue means that steps can be taken to prepare both your environment and yourself to minimise the impact of these ancient instincts, and get a good night’s sleep ahead of your busy itinerary.
When booking, arrange the best conditions possible. The top floor should be quietest, and speak to the owner about the room environment – are the curtains dark? Is there less street noise at the back? Some accommodations can provide a white noise machine to help regulate the sound of the room; if not, consider downloading an app to do the same.
Next, think before you pack: an eye mask and earplugs are a no-brainer, they take up little space and will immediately shut out the majority of distractions. You might also consider taking your regular pillow, or at least its pillowcase, as the scent can trick your sleeping mind into believing you are at home.
Of course, our guilty secret is that we often opt to do some things that are ill-advised right before bed – both the laptop screen and the glow of the smart phone send signals to our mind that it is still daylight. Cut them out, and instead consider meditation, reading a good old fashioned paperback, or knitting.
Whatever the conditions, try to remain calm and at ease with the fact that it’s your animal programming that’s at fault. You can take some comfort from the thought that the problem should subside as you get used to the location. Until then, try some of the other sleep techniques in this handy new infographic – and get a good night’s rest ahead of the next adventure.
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<img src=’https://www.oliverstravels.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/How_to_get_a_good_nights_sleep_away_from_home-final-DV2.png‘ width=’540’ alt=’How to get a good night’s sleep away from home”>
</a><p>How to get a good night’s sleep away from home [Infographic] by the team at <a href=’https://www.oliverstravels.com/blog/how-to-get-a-good-nights-sleep-away-from-home/‘>Oliver’s Travels</a></p>
Sources: Johnston, I. (2016) The reason why you can’t sleep when staying away from home explained by science. independent.co.uk; Lecher, C. (2014). FYI: Why Does White Noise Help People Sleep? popsci.com; Heath Magazine (2016). 20 things you shouldn’t do before bed. Health.com