Going on a trip or just vis­it­ing and can’t sleep? The sit­u­a­tion is typ­i­cal and famil­iar to many first­hand.

But it turns out that there are ways to pre­vent pos­si­ble insom­nia. And if you do every­thing right — sweet sleep. Any­where and very fast.

What causes insomnia in a new place?

There are sev­er­al fac­tors that pre­vent us from sleep­ing in a new place. “And it’s not just such glob­al ones as chang­ing time zones or changes in the dai­ly rou­tine,” says the clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Michael Breus.

Some fac­tors are so famil­iar to us that we do not even sus­pect them in the appear­ance of insom­nia. Mean­while, know­ing the prob­lem, it is eas­i­er to fix it.

Changes in daily routine

Dur­ing trav­el or long trips, the rou­tine of the day usu­al­ly changes. Some­one is forced to wake up ear­ly in the morn­ing to catch the train, and the oth­er does not go to bed on time to catch the plane.

“At the same time, stud­ies have shown that even eat­ing an hour ear­li­er or lat­er than usu­al can bring down cir­ca­di­an rhythms, which in turn will lead to sleep dis­or­ders,” says the psy­chol­o­gist. Michael Breus.

If pos­si­ble, do not change your dai­ly rou­tine!

Change of time zones

Change of time zones

The change of time zones knocks down the cir­ca­di­an rhythms of the body, on which the time of wake­ful­ness and going to bed depends. And dic­tates them, first of all, the sun.

There­fore, flights from day to night and vice ver­sa make the body suf­fer, caus­ing sleep dis­tur­bances.

Alcohol consumption

On vaca­tion, you want to relax as much as pos­si­ble. And some peo­ple lean on alco­hol. Mean­while, even a cou­ple of cock­tails can affect the qual­i­ty of sleep.

Case in point: in a 2013 review pub­lished in the jour­nal Alco­holism: Clin­i­cal and Exper­i­men­tal Researchit was found that alco­hol caus­es dis­tur­bances in the phas­es of REM and non-REM sleep.

Spe­cial­ists Cleve­land Clin­ic they say that this is espe­cial­ly sad, since vio­la­tions of the deep phase of sleep can pre­vent the body from build­ing, repair­ing and regen­er­at­ing its tis­sues in a time­ly man­ner and in full.

First night effect

First night effect

“In unfa­mil­iar places, peo­ple often can­not fall asleep due to the so-called “first night effect”. And all because your brain is con­stant­ly assess­ing the sit­u­a­tion around for threats, ”explains the psy­chol­o­gist. Michael Breus.

In oth­er words, while one hemi­sphere of the brain is “sleep­ing”, the oth­er is scan­ning the envi­ron­ment. This is a pro­tec­tive func­tion of any organ­ism, a sur­vival instinct.

It does not mat­ter how far you are from home — 5 km or all 5000.

7 tips to help you sleep soundly

Now that it’s clear why you can’t fall asleep quick­ly, it’s time to fol­low the tips that will fix every­thing.

1. Prepare for the trip

It is not enough to take doc­u­ments and bank cards with you and fold your suit­case. You also need to “syn­chro­nize” your own cir­ca­di­an rhythms with the time zone of the coun­try in which you arrive.

The eas­i­est way is to go to bed ear­li­er or lat­er one or two hours a week before the planned depar­ture. Then, upon arrival in a new place, it will be eas­i­er for you to “fit” into the new con­di­tions.

By the way!

A 2019 review found that evening work­outs can help you fall asleep more quick­ly if you fin­ish with­in an hour of going to bed.

2. Drink more water

2. Drink more water

“This is the most impor­tant advice,” says the clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Michael Breus. — This is because dehy­dra­tion exac­er­bates the symp­toms of jet lag and caus­es severe trav­el fatigue.”

This is espe­cial­ly true when fly­ing in an air­plane. Due to the recir­cu­la­tion of air in the cab­in, the body expe­ri­ences a lack of mois­ture, which affects both the appear­ance and well-being of a per­son.

In order not to suf­fer from unpleas­ant symp­toms, drink water in a time­ly man­ner. At least 8–12 glass­es of liq­uid per day.

3. Cut down on caffeine

When a per­son suf­fers from sleep dis­tur­bances and poor health, it may be tempt­ing to drink a cup of cof­fee. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, this can increase ener­gy lev­els and invig­o­rate a lit­tle. But in prac­tice, under the cur­rent con­di­tions, it will only make things worse.

“Also keep in mind that caf­feine fur­ther dehy­drates the body, exac­er­bat­ing the symp­toms of jet lag,” adds the clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist. Michael Breus. “Besides, if you drink cof­fee short­ly before bed­time, it will pro­voke even more prob­lems.”


Drink milk instead of cof­fee. The cal­ci­um in this drink has a stim­u­lat­ing effect on the syn­the­sis of the sleep hor­mone mela­tonin in the body.

And if before going to bed you want some­thing more sub­stan­tial, have a snack with a slice of cheese, a serv­ing of cot­tage cheese, drink a glass of yogurt or fer­ment­ed baked milk.

4. Limit your alcohol intake

4. Limit your alcohol intake

In a new place with alco­holic bev­er­ages in gen­er­al, you need to be care­ful.

But if they are includ­ed in the leisure pro­gram, at least give up alco­hol 4 hours before bed­time. Oth­er­wise, the con­se­quences of liba­tions and sleep dis­tur­bance will be even more sad.

For exam­ple, one study pub­lished in August 2019 showed that drink­ing alco­hol dur­ing the last 4 hours before bed­time caus­es frag­men­ta­tion — that is, the inter­rup­tion of a night’s rest.

5. Walk in the sun

Once you have arrived at your des­ti­na­tion, go for a walk in the fresh air. Bright sun­light will tell the body not to sleep and will help reset its cir­ca­di­an rhythms.


Research by sci­en­tists from Bran­deis Uni­ver­si­ty showed that peo­ple who walk for at least 20 min­utes dur­ing the day fall asleep faster and sleep bet­ter at night.

There­fore, do not rush to fall into bed upon arrival at a new place — look around.

6. Take your pillow and blanket

6. Take your pillow and blanket

And this advice is good for those who are try­ing to get enough sleep at a par­ty or hotel in their time zone. Experts point out that a dif­fer­ent bed, pil­low, or even the soft­ness of a mat­tress can inter­fere with nor­mal sleep. While the usu­al con­di­tions set up for a good rest.

By the way, using your sub­ject also allows you to “lull” the vig­i­lance of the brain and reduce the “effect of the first night.”

7. Block out the world

And some­times the sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment inter­feres with sleep. If a per­son comes from a small vil­lage, where there is silence and only occa­sion­al roost­er cries, and around a noisy mil­lion-plus city, it is not sur­pris­ing that the brain pre­vents falling asleep in every pos­si­ble way. Giv­en the lev­el of noise, and some­times the light­ing, he sees a threat in every­thing and does not allow him to fall asleep.

A sleep mask and earplugs can help. A Chi­nese study in 2010 showed that this “cou­ple” favors an increase in the sleep hor­mone mela­tonin and sets you up for a good rest.

When the world is “locked down” until the morn­ing, you will be able to fall asleep quick­ly and have a good night’s sleep.

Good dreams!

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