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Why can't I sleep in other people's beds?

23 Jun 2022

It is very common for it to be difficult to fall asleep when you are not at home. The problem comes with summer: vacations, friends' houses, hotels... it is very difficult for our body to adapt quickly and efficiently to each new environment.

The question is: what is the cause of not being able to sleep in other people's beds?

science explains it

After studies carried out in different North American universities, everything indicates that the left hemisphere of our brain maintains a wakefulness mechanism and alert to face potential threats when sleeping in an unfamiliar environment. This had already been observed in different animals: whales, dolphins, etc., which shows that it is a completely natural instinct.

While our right hemisphere falls asleep, our other half resists falling asleep completely, disrupting our sleep routine, circadian rhythms, and mood.

These same studies revealed a common pattern in all its subjects: the first night was always the hardest. On the first night, the brain reacts more easily to external stimuli, such as high-pitched sounds. It is because of this phenomenon known as “first night effect” that the study was carried out over several days, to minimize their symptoms. After a couple of days, the body ended up adapting and falling asleep more quickly.

This explains why it is difficult to get to sleep the first night in a new hotel but easy the next day.

It was also observed that those people who are used to constantly changing their environment (due to trips, etc.) do not have such a strong effect, since the brain is a flexible organ that ends up adapting to constant variation.

Now that I know this… how can I fall asleep?

The main advice to rest comfortably in someone else's bed is make the environment as similar as possible to your home: This helps the brain adapt sooner. Try to sleep on the same side of the bed, with the same number of pillows, the same postures and, above all, with your usual bedtime routines.

Carry objects with which you usually sleep (your own pillow, cushion or objects that you usually have on your nightstand) helps calm the brain.

Pay attention to the temperature of your room: in rooms that are too cold it is more difficult to sleep, as well as during heat waves.

the scent of lavender It is also very useful to relax and regulate the heart rate.

To minimize external stimuli, try sleep with earplugs (to avoid high-pitched sounds) and with a mask. In this way, sleep will be more restful.

Another simple way to fall asleep is with melatonin supplements. Melatonin is one of the most important sleep hormones, naturally secreted by the body. However, with changes in our routines, their production can be altered. Melatonin in pills or gummies can be a good option to give your body the last push (but its consumption should always be consulted with a doctor).


We wish you sweet dreams.

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