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
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.
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
“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
“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
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
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.