Schlepping halfway across the country to see your family this Christmas? (Or jetting off to far-flung climes to avoid them?) Spending the season snoozing on sofas, airbeds and in spare rooms can affect your sleep. It’s not just a cricked neck that lets you know you’re not in your own bed – your subconscious knows, too. A study from Brown University found that on your first night in a new place, brain activity tends to rise because half your brain is watching out for trouble. Travelling in itself – time-zone changes, middle seats – can also wreak havoc on the amount and quality of sleep you get, says Natalie Dautovich, scholar for the National Sleep Foundation. And, believe us, you want those ZZZs: a night without enough of them can lead to poor decision-making, weight gain and acne. Next trip, pack these strategies instead of those extra shoes.
1 SLEEP WELL...
AT A HOTEL
Whether you’re at a five-star resort or just a dodgy B&B, it takes about two days to adjust to the smells, sounds and temperature of a new place, says clinical psychologist Michael Breus, author of The Power Of When. The bed is the biggest obstacle. “Sleeping on a different mattress is like wearing new shoes – your body has to get used to it,” he says. Setting up the room to be like your own at home gives your body the cues it needs to nod off. Try these: