Struggle to Sleep in New Places

Sleep Tips for New Places

Apr 26, 2024

Many of us are familiar with the strange sensations associated with sleeping in a bed that’s not yours. Adjusting to a new sleep environment is like breaking in new shoes—it can be uncomfortable and all-too-present in your mind. Whether it’s a business trip, vacation, or a recent move, the unfamiliarity of a new place can make it challenging to fall asleep. We’re here to arm you with strategies to snooze like a baby, no matter where you are.


“Why Can’t I Sleep?”: Understanding the Challenge of Location

The first step to tackling the beast of sleeping in a new place is understanding why it can be difficult. It’s due to a phenomenon called the “first-night effect,” and it happens because your brain enters an overprotective state that keeps it alert to new dangers. It’s a leftover survival mechanism from the days where we needed to be afraid at night. But let’s be honest, the only thing you’ll be fighting is the urge to raid the fridge at 2 AM.


Improve Sleep Quality By Creating Comfort

Creating comfort is crucial for sleep in general, but is especially important in a new environment. Toss the pancake-flat pillow and get yourself a spine-loving, back-supporting cushion. If you’re not sure if your destination has one, consider investing in a great travel pillow.

The next step is setting the mood. You’ll want to set the thermostat to around 65 to 68 degrees fahrenheit. Sleeping inside an ice box or sauna isn’t exactly conducive to rest. If the temperature is outside of your control, try to block out the bright city lights with blackout curtains, or the noise of the street with a white noise app on your phone.


Maintain a Routine

Keep to a regular sleep schedule throughout the year, even when you’re traveling or in a new place. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day will help cue your body into winding down for the night, no matter where you are. Take advantage of your body’s internal clock. It’s there for a reason.

This can be aided through use of wind-down habits. Don’t ditch your rituals just because you’re not in Kansas anymore. Keep it intact as much as possible—whether it’s reading a book or taking a warm bath, a ritual helps signal your body that it’s time to wind down.


Use Relaxation Techniques Like A Free Guided Meditation to Sleep

Guided meditations can be an effective way to relax your mind, whether you’re resting your head in a penthouse or a foxhole. Programs like Timer or The Sleep Syndicate offer a selection of sleep meditation sessions that can help you get in the sleep zone.

Breathing techniques are another great way to master your relaxation. Deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation techniques are a great way to give your body a chill pill in a new place. These techniques can help calm both your mind and body, and work doubly for sleep purposes.


Address Underlying Issues

If you’re tossing and turning every night, wondering “why can’t I sleep?”,  it might be more than just the new digs. Stress, anxiety, or other unseen demons could be messing with your sleep. Time to show them the door with some intervention. Try a sleep habit tracker, introducing a new bedtime routine, or seeking professional help.


Switching up your sleep scene doesn’t have to be a nightmare. While it’s probably going to be a slightly weird experience, it can be a little easier when you’re armed with the right approach going in. So take these tips to heart, and become the master of your slumber no matter where you are. And if you’re looking to become a sleep grandmaster, complete our Six-Week Sleep Bootcamp program and you’ll be able to sleep like never before.