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The ‘first night effect’ is the reason why you don’t sleep well in your new bed

AInstead of too much time quarantined and locked up, it tracks that you can not only tingle with a sense of well-being, but also get itchy from an adventure or a break from monotony. . As the number of people vaccinated increases and begins to feel comfortable with the prospect of safe travel, more people may find a way to plan a vacation after that first quarantine. Now, fast-forward to the first night of the long-awaited vacation, in a worthy hotel room on Pinterest: You’re wrapped up in a serious cozy feather blanket and ready to take a nap. delicious. And after an hour, while you’re still awake, you’re still ready for a good night’s sleep. And so in the following hours. And next.

Sound familiar? It turns out, no matter how comfortable a hotel room or an Airbnb or a friend’s new home is, on the first night away from your normal sleeping environment, closing your eyes is quite difficult. In reality, research shows that the “first night effect”, as it is called in the psychological and sleep communities, is a very real psychological mechanism that exists with the aim of protecting itself against potential threats and threats. .

Kimberly Fenn, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist and director of The Sleep and Learning Laboratory at Michigan State University, says that during our first night in a new environment, our brains function in an elevated state of alertness. When you sleep in a new environment, that means your natural alarms will be active. You don’t have historical data to predict what you should expect, so being able to relax to a degree that allows you to sleep deeply is more difficult.

“The brain is more ready to wake up – and will waking up – with much less stimulation than when a person slept in their familiar sleeping environment. “—Kimberly Fenn, Ph.D., cognitive neuroscientist

“Sleep is a state in which people are less responsive to external stimuli, but also a state where people are more vulnerable to predators,” says Dr. Fenn. So whether we’re trying to sleep in a luxury resort apartment or on our friend’s couch, our brains will stay on high alert for the first night or two. room anything happens. “The brain is more ready to wake up – and will waking up – with much less stimulation than when a person slept in their familiar sleeping environment. “

While you can’t minimize the existence of the first night effect, you can take steps to prepare it so that its effects feel less severe for you. So when the tour unfolds and you go on planning a dream vacation that has been repelled by the coronavirus, use these three tips to prepare for your first night in a new bed.

3 ways to prepare for the first nighttime effect to minimize its harsh effects.

1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule ahead of your trip

Maintaining a steady sleep schedule can be challenging, but it is also a challenge Top tips that experts recommend for maintaining continuous sleep health. And to maximize zzz’s first night in a new place (and minimize the impact of the first night effect), Dr. Fenn recommends keeping a consistent sleep schedule to at least one week in advance of your travel plan.

“Your body learns to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day, and this habit will help you sleep better in a novel environment compared to an erratic sleep schedule,” she said. So please download one sleep application Or put that bedtime alarm on your phone to help you plan and stick to them.

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2. Note the time zones

Are you right One of the people had serious flight delays? If so, be mindful of travels crossing time zones, as jet lag layered over the first night effect doesn’t quite add up to relaxing relaxation conditions. The good news is you can prepare your trip ahead of time so that jet lag shouldn’t be too much of an issue for you.

For example, if you’re traveling two hours east and you usually go to bed at 11 p.m., start going to bed earlier and a week earlier than your trip. Even if it’s just 15 minutes earlier each night, helping your body adjust to a new time zone before you reach your destination can only help you avoid jet lag plus associated difficulties. to the first night effect.

3. Make sleep hygiene a priority, especially on the first night

Healthy sleep hygiene (or routine) is an easy way to reduce the restlessness that can accompany the first night effect.

To establish healthy sleep hygiene, Dr. Fenn recommends sleeping in a cool, dark room, paying attention to thermostats. (The optimal temperature for sleep between 60 ° F and 68 ° F, FYI.) Some other tips include investing in a pair of earplugs or white noise machine. Since our brains may be more sensitive to auditory stimuli in new places, having noise reduction aids can help ensure you stay asleep while the air conditioner is active or Your new neighbors are noisy. And last but not least, quit afternoon coffee or take a nap – no matter how tempted you might be.

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