Variety may be the spice of life, but when it comes to sleeping, what your body craves is anything but. Have you noticed that when you go out of town, you usually don’t sleep that great the first night? There’s a term for this – it’s called First-Night Effect. It turns out that your (specifically) left brain is more apt to stay awake or in a heightened state of alertness when you’re sleeping somewhere new for the first time. Scientists think this could be an evolutionary tool that helps us “stay safe” in unfamiliar surroundings. The good news is that there are several ways to combat this effect, including the tips we have included below.
Have Pillow, Will Travel
Next time you scoff at someone carrying their own pillow on board, consider that this is one of the top ways to trick your mind to thinking you’re cozy at home. You’ll instantly recognize the shape, fell and subtle smell of your own pillow, upping the relaxation potential. Don’t have a favorite? Consider trying out a latex pillow. They’re like a little slice of heaven in your own bed.
Scent So Good
Do you have a favorite or familiar scent in your bedroom? Maybe you use a certain air freshener or diffuse essential oils on the daily at home. Do your best to recreate this scent in your hotel or guest room. Scent is our most powerful sense when it comes to conjuring memory, so it makes sense that if it smells like home, it will feel more like – home.
Welcome to my Sleep Cave
If you’ve created your own cozy, dark and cool safe haven in your home bedroom, do the same on the road. Crank that AC down to your preferred sleeping temperature (studies recommend 65 F to be optimal for sleeping) and get cozy with your comforter. If the room you’re in isn’t entirely dark, consider picking up a contoured eye mask. You can find these for under $15 and the key here is that they are contoured so they don’t smash your eyelids when you try to do normal things like blink.
Pack Your PJs
It may be tempting to try and pack clothes with the idea in mind that they can play double duty – ie: I can just sleep in the tank top that I plan to wear on this day. The reality is that a. sleeping in something that you’ve worn all day isn’t the most hygienic thing and b. your pajamas are likely 10x more comfortable – and help make you feel at home. So save space elsewhere and pack those PJs.
Lastly, if you really have a hard time sleeping away from home, try to pick out hotel that resemble your bedroom as much as possible. This may be easier said than done, but it is worth a shot if you’re in dire need for some quality zzzz’s on the road.
Here’s to sleeping easier while on the road!