Why we have trouble sleeping in hotel rooms

You have booked a perfect getaway, hopped on your flight, checked into a spacious hotel room ready for that much-needed night’s sleep. There’s only one problem: it’s 2 a.m. and you’re still staring at the ceiling. Which give?

Americans obtaining on average 40 percent less than the recommended amount of sleep, you would think that having the chance to stay in luxurious accommodation would be the perfect time to close your eyes. Unfortunately, it can be quite the opposite. “Sleep researchers and clinicians have long known about the ‘first night effect’,” said Dr. Melisa Moore, sleep expert, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Condé Nast Traveler. “The study suggests that one of our brain hemispheres sleeps less deeply the first night in a new environment. This hemispherical difference could cause us to have difficulty falling asleep.

According to Moore, we also develop associations between sleep and our environment as babies. This could be things like sleeping facing the door, with several soft pillows, with a night light, or with a sound machine. When these things are missing in a new place, our brain has to adapt. Even at home, with all of our favorite sleep accessories, we wake up four to six times. In a hotel, however, it takes a little longer to fall back to sleep.

“After each sleep cycle, our brains wake up briefly and, in general, we are so good to ourselves. back to sleep that we don’t notice, ”adds Moore. “If what we have at bedtime – two pillows, a TV, a sound machine, etc. – is not there when you wake up, it may be more difficult to go back to sleep.

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While it seems like the odds are stacked against you when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep in a hotel room, there are a number of things you can do to achieve sweet dreams. “Try to wake up in the morning in your new destination rather than sleep in, and get as much sun as possible by going out or opening the shades in your bedroom, ”says Moore. She also suggests eating at regular meal times in your new time zone.

Next, keep things as close to you as possible. “Some people stay in the same hotel chains or bring their own pillows or pajamas, “she said.” There are applications to white noise for smartphone or even travel-sized sound machines that can help. Keep the environment consistent throughout the night. For example, don’t turn off your sound machine app after four hours.

There are also a few things to avoid if you want to kick back and relax in your hotel room. “Avoid caffeine from late afternoon until bedtime, ”says Moore,“ and avoid electronic devices about an hour before bed. Why? Blame the science: electronics (specifically, the blue wavelength of light) temporarily suspend the secretion of melatonin in the brain, and we need melatonin to feel tired at bedtime and to stay asleep at night. . So resist the urge to grab your phone when you can’t sleep or take caffeine when you feel jet-lagged.

Some hotels have even made this process easier for travelers. The

The Ritz Carlton, Dallas

has launched a new initiative called “A Good Night’s Suite” where you can request in-suite amenities such as noise-canceling earplugs, herbal or unscented eye mask, optional cooling pillow, Sleep-inducing herbal tea, a lavender linen mist and a CD of soothing music. The

in Las Vegas has Stay Well rooms with air purification systems and

The Hôtel de l’Ermitage

in Nashville now has a pillow menu. Now it’s REM-uh, room service.

Originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler

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