Moving to a new apartment is one of the significant steps in life.
However, it might take a toll on your sleep for the first couple of days.
In fact, this condition is called — surprise! — ‘first night effect’ and appears every time you change something in your sleep surroundings. So, when you move from one setting to another, you can only imagine the consequences.
However, there are some tips that can help you catch some ZZZ’s. Below you’ll find five essential things you need to pack with you for your new home to become a proper place to rest.
Why Are We Lacking Sleep at a New Place?
So, the term ‘first night effect’ came from the era of lab testing. Researchers who conduct small-group sleep studies often don’t consider the results of the first night because they’re usually slightly off due to this phenomenon.
But what’s behind the ‘first night effect’?
Well, it appears that almost half of your brain may remain alert when you sleep in a new location. Your mind tries to familiarize itself with new surroundings and make sure there are no possible threats around.
Scientists state that the ‘first night effect’ cannot be avoided completely. However, some things can reduce its potency and help you fall asleep eventually.
Here they are.
#1 — A Sleep Mask
Light pollution is a modern plague. Artificial light is essential for people who work at night, but it can significantly worsen the quality of sleep in other people.
Our retina cells are susceptible to light. The thing is, the primary regulator of your sleep-wake cycle is also located in the same region.
Which is why exposing yourself to morning sunlight is the most effective way to wake up.
However, the late-night exposure to light may add up to the first night effect of sleeping in a new place and disrupt your sleep completely.
Since installing the blackouts probably isn’t the main thing you want to do right after moving in, try using a sleep mask for the same light-blocking effect.
#2 — A Noise Blocker
Along with light pollution, noise is another major concern. Each urban or rural area sounds different. In most cases, your brain will slowly get used to these sounds and will perceive them as ambiance. But if you’ve moved from the suburbs to a busy city center, getting a good night’s sleep might be challenging.
To avoid sleep disturbances, you can use white noise. White noise combines a broad spectrum of sound waves that create a constant sound similar to a ceiling fan. Many people sleep with this device on during hot weather, as the brain is likely to perceive this sound as familiar, allowing you to fall asleep more easily despite the heat.
Also, white noise can absorb other sounds, which will come in handy if you’ve moved to a dense urban area.
You can use either a small white noise machine — there are a lot of portable options out there — or opt for using headphones with a white noise app.
Along with white noise, these apps may contain samples of other ‘colorful’ sounds, such as brown or pink. In fact, studies find that pink noise can be as beneficial as white noise for treating insomnia and reducing stress.
#3 — A New Mattress
Of course, moving to a new apartment means that you will more likely toss away some bulky furniture and replace it with a new one once you settle down.
Typically, a mattress often falls into the ‘toss away’ category, but if you want to get a comfortable sleep, it’s recommended to get a replacement as soon as possible.
Cheaper mattresses can be an excellent temporary solution if you need to do some decorating and maintenance before arranging such heavy-duty furniture as the bed. In fact, you can even put them on the floor — just be sure to choose a dry and even surface.
Today, many budget mattresses offer decent quality and certainly will provide you with more comfort than an airbed or a sleeping bag. Moreover, some of these inexpensive mattresses are good enough to be used as a permanent option.
#4 — Sleeping Aids
Sometimes — e.g. when you feel too anxious or when the neighbors are way too loud —you might need to address the help of sleeping aids.
Modern sleeping aids are based on plant extracts and provide a relaxing effect without making you dependent.
Here are the most common plants used:
- Chamomile. Chamomile tea is rich in the antioxidant apigenin, which has relaxing and tranquilizing properties. Thus, having a cup of warm chamomile tea as part of your bedtime routine has a scientific base.
- Passionflower. Passionflower tea has potent anxiety-relieving properties and might help you wind down and ease your drift-off.
- Valerian root. Valerian root is the most popular herbal sleeping aid used in Europe. It can have an impact on specific receptors in your brain and thus promote sleepiness.
Also, some pills can offer you analogs of the substances that are naturally found in your body and have sleep-promoting effects, such as:
- Melatonin. This lab-created sleep hormone can help you boost the production of your melatonin, which may improve the sleep quality and speed up the time it takes you to fall asleep.
- Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that takes part in the melatonin and serotonin synthesis. Both these compounds are crucial for the deep sleep phase, and getting enough of tryptophan may help you boost their levels.
#5 — Familiar Things
Finally, you can take your positive associations and memories with you and try to resemble the sleeping space familiar to your old home. Here’s what can work best:
- Pajamas. Bring your usual pajamas, or T-shirt that you sleep in, and put it on. You may feel nothing about your clothes, but your brain views the pajamas as an essential part of your bedtime routine. Thus, putting it on will trigger the needed associations.
- Bedding sheets. Along with pajamas, bedding sheets are another important item to trigger associations with sleep. You may even pack a few sets in the first need box.
- Scents. Every home has a smell. If you’re an aromatherapy lover, you may as well bring some incense and burn it before sleep. Or, use relaxing essential oils, such as lavender, lemon balm or basil, to rub your temples or sprinkle over your pillows.
Hopefully, these simple steps may help you significantly reduce anxious thoughts and that ‘first night effect’ so that you could get proper shut-eye at your new home.