Written by EMILY FROST

How to sleep anywhere when travelling

Whether it’s unfamiliar surroundings, a raucous hostel dorm or pothole ridden night bus journey, the act of travel is peppered with endless sleep-inhibiting obstacles.

But, as many people consider a good night’s sleep to be essential for their mental wellbeing, it seems that appeasing our circadian rhythms when on the road could be the key to a more enjoyable trip.

We’ve sought expert advice to produce the definitive guide on how best to shut out the distractions of a new environment and power down for a restorative night – wherever you may lay your head.

How to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings

You know that feeling, when you’ve arrived fresh off a plane, and then… you just can’t seem to switch off? Well, there is actually a scientific name for this phenomenon – the ‘first night effect’.

The science is simple: a new place means sleep-hindering factors like noises, sounds and smells that you’ve learnt to filter out at home are now front-and-centre, making it difficult to power down.

The key to tackling this is to filter out as many unusual stimuli as possible, and create yourself a mini sleep-haven that mimics your nighttime conditions at home.

If you’re affected by noise, the obvious solution is earplugs. Preferences vary, so try a few different types before you travel. If you find earplugs a pain to sleep in, use a white noise app.

Start listening to white noise as you get ready for bed. This way, you’ll begin filtering out any intrusive sounds, ready to focus solely on your personal soundtrack when it’s time to finally sleep.

Excess light can be even more of a sleep-distraction, so try as much as possible to block it. If your room has blinds and curtains, make use of both. Cover electronics emitting light as best you can.

For full light protection, consider wearing an eye mask, or even bringing portable black-out blinds (genuine actual thing) with you – extreme, but effective.

It’s important not to let yourself associate the bed with anything other than sleep. If you use it as a base for working or storing your belongings, your brain won’t register it as a place of rest.

Lastly, try to regulate the temperature as much as you can. Scientists estimate the ideal temperature for a good night’s sleep to be 16 -18°C, so if you have air-con, adjust it accordingly.

Find out how to sleep in hostels, on buses and in airport here.