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Summer holidays are a great opportunity to truly relax and catch up on all that much missed sleep. However, the excitement of vacation is often dampened by restless nights and groggy mornings, with peaceful sleep only a distant memory of home.
The experts at Naturalmat cite the most common reasons for this anomaly, plus some handy tips on how to overcome holiday sleep problems.
It is normal for people to sleep badly on the first night in a strange bed, as our body struggles to adjust to unfamiliar environments. Our brains are trained to protect us in vulnerable situations, just as birds and dolphins stay alert for predators whilst asleep. New hotel rooms fall into this category, and we often remain in a ‘ready for action’ state of vigilance, scanning for threats and any signs of danger. We recommend staying in the same hotel room/chain if you travel regularly, or recreating your bedroom in your hotel room to convince your brain you’re safe.
The optimum sleep temperature is between 16 and 19 degrees, and nights are often hotter abroad. If the temperature of the room is too high this can lead to restlessness and affect REM sleep, (characterised by more dreaming and bodily movement, and faster pulse and breathing). Try placing a cool flannel on your head, investing in a portable fan or sipping ice water to beat the heat.
You are likely to have spent considerable time and money investing in the right mattress that meets your every need. Obviously you can’t take your bed with you, however you might be able to pack your pillow, which will make the transition easier. Not only will your pillow have a familiar smell and texture, but the comfort and support will be right for you and could make the difference between poor sleep and better quality sleep.
Ear plugs, an eye mask and a warm shower is your new holiday bedtime mantra. Good ear plugs will mute noisy hotel guests and unusual sounds that don’t normally feature on your night time soundtrack. An eye mask is a great help if your curtains are particularly thin, and will block out the sunlight if you rise later than normal due to irregular bedtimes. Lastly, give yourself ample time to de-stress before bed, and take a warm shower or bath to signal to the brain that it is time to sleep.
Other little tricks include opening a window to increase air circulation and ventilate the room, incorporating a brisk walk into your daily routine and not drinking close to bedtime. A 20 minute afternoon nap between 1pm and 4pm can invigorate your day and boost productivity, but will not affect your sleep at night, and home comforts like fluffy socks and a cuddly toy can be soothing.
Finally, studies have shown that unfamiliar pesticides and cleaning chemicals can also keep us awake. An 'ecologically fresh' bedroom allows the human body to relax, which in turns means a better night's sleep. To combat this, you could stay at one of our luxury partner hotels that guarantee natural, ecological and sustainable rest, but if that isn't possible Naturalmat can help put together a perfect sleep solution, just for you.
Find your perfect sleep solution and view our adult collections here.