Why We Don’t Sleep Very Well When We Are Travelling?

Nectar Sleep
Img Courtesy: Nectar Sleep

Negosentro | Why We Don’t Sleep Very Well When We Are Travelling? | Imagine a scenario where you are traveling to the place you have been saving up for and this vacation promises to be your dream come true after all! However, all the excitement and the novelty robs you of your sleeping bliss and you are lying wide-eyes in your hotel bed even though your body is exhausted, it is truly the best time to sleep and your bed is oh-so-soft (you can check out Resident Home LLC if you are looking for something similar for yourself back home). 

As per the Current Biology, on the first night in a foreign land, people find it especially difficult to sleep, thanks to the left side of the brain having “reduced sleep depth”. Scientists have also recorded “ enhanced evoke brain response” to different sounds and other “deviant external stimuli”. This phenomenon of the half-functional brain is called being bird-brained as birds are naturally adept to stay vigilant during their sleep. 

In a nutshell, one hemisphere of the brain is more vigilant than the other which makes it super alert to new surroundings. This is in line with the natural instincts of survival in a different territory which requires animals to stay extra cautious of the new environment. Adding to that is the flexibility of the human brain which is so adaptive that it takes every foreign sound as a safety signal and immediately alerts the entire body. 

Natural Body Clock

A lot of it relies on your sleep routines. People belonging to different countries travel to places that are on the other side of the earth. This wrecks havoc on the natural sleep pattern on the person’s body. 

For instance, sleeping timings and sleep habits in the US may differ from timings and sleep habits in the U.K. The body clock finds it difficult to find a middle ground, and as a result, tricks the brain into staying alert and eventually, impact sleep. 

The Anxiety Of A New Place

Science states that because our brains are tuned to abide by a routine, we find it very difficult to fit into a new place and relax there. Though travel is done for pleasure, it does come with its own sets of residual pressure like traveling in a foreign land, documentation and so on. This pressure multiplies if you are on a business trip, looking to close a deal. 

What Can You Do Retain A Healthy Sleep While Travelling?

Though the Gods of sleep evade you, you can try some of the tips and tricks are given below to help you lull into slumber even when you are far away from home. 

Plan A Sleep Schedule

While you have a fixed body clock and are unable to tune into the local time, try scheduling a sleep plan that will help you not only get your cherished zzzs but also enable to make the most of your travel. 

You can write it down and carry it with you to make a conscious effort and allow yourself to enjoy your travel without losing out on your sleep or your adventure. However, you must give yourself an apt amount of sleep and should not cut short on it in an attempt to squeeze as many experiences as possible. 

Find A Hotel With Rooms Resembling Your Bedroom: With the blessings of previews on the internet, you can now easily look up the rooms of the hotel and compare it with your bedroom. It might have the same upholstery like the custom sofa from Bundle you have back at home, the 4 x 6 rug from Wovenly drapes or the color of the walls, The similarity can trick your brain into slipping into the comforts of familiarity.

Have A Contingency Plan

Though you might be sleeping at a star hotel or crashing at a friend’s couch. It is important to stay equipped with your personal sleep accessories like eye masks or earplugs. You might need them where you are crashing or they might prove to be helpful when you are traveling via train, plane or car. This will help you squeeze in a quick nap.

Make Your Environment Soothing: A tired mind and body at the end of the day need its rest. It’s instinctive. You can coax your brain into sleeping to the soothing sounds of ocean waves or the slight effervescence of the essential oil you just sprayed. These elements calm your mind and make it easier to sleep. 

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The unfamiliarity combined with the pressure makes it extremely hard for the body to relax and fall asleep. You can also try bringing something from home which will add to the comfort like a thin blanket or a pillow which might trick your brain into sleeping.

Do Not Go Overboard

It is understandable that you are out traveling, meeting new people and trying out the local cuisines and drinks. However, remember that your body is not used to such a rich diet on a daily basis and such  intake might shock your body and spoil your vacation. 

Do Not Check Messages Or Mails: While you are enjoying the mystical ocean sounds from your phone, resist the temptation to check your emails and messages. This will only add to anxiety and not allow you to relax. In fact, doctors suggest you shut down our electronics 90 minutes before bed. 

Take a Warm Shower: You are at a hotel! Enjoy the hospitality and the squeaky bathroom, equipped with the right plumbing for a hot shower. This relaxes your muscles and helps you fall into a soothing state. 

Eat The Local Cuisine Before You Arrive: Before you arrive at your destination, eat a light meal that mimics the ingenious gastronomic elements of the place that you are visiting to help your body acclimatize to the new food and gives your body the time to adjust to the new palate and hence, lifestyle.

Force Out Of That Jet Lag

You might be tempted to sleep as per your home local time and get over the tiredness that plagues you. However, scientists and experienced travellers suggest that you force yourself to stay up as per the local time and sleep as per the local routine. 

Of course, you will go through a series of discomforts but your body will soon get used to the new rhythm and help you tune in your biological clock as per the local time. This way, you will be less groggy and will be able to enjoy your travel better.


Being bird-brained is definitely not good for our sleep patterns but traveling brings out the natural instincts. We know that traveling might not be sleep’s best friend, but by incorporating these simple steps that are easy to understand and implement them in daily lives, you can make your travel experience richer and more enjoyable. 

What helps you travel effortlessly? Is traveling affecting your sleep cycle? Let us know!