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How to get a good sleep on holiday from the FIRST night

Getting a good sleep is often easier said than done – especially when you’re in new surroundings.

As such, the first night of a holiday usually doesn’t include the eight hours of restful slumber we are all longing for.

For some, an entire trip can be ruined by a lack of sleep – no matter how relaxing the break you had planned is.

Thankfully, sleep experts have revealed the steps British holiday-goers can take to ensure they have a peaceful night’s rest – even on the first day of arriving somewhere new.

From enjoying a glass of water with each wine you have, to setting the aircon to 16 or 18 degrees and eating cherries, strawberries or bananas, here, FEMAIL reveals the top tips for getting a good night’s sleep on holiday… 

Getting a good sleep is often easier said than done – especially when you’re in new surroundings (stock photo)

EAT YOUR BIGGEST MEAL AT LUNCH – AND INCLUDE CHERRIES, BANANAS AND STRAWBERRIES

Thomas Høegh Reisenhus, TEMPUR sleep specialist and sleep counsellor, said: ‘One of the highlights of travelling is trying new cuisine and letting loose a little. 

‘Overeating will have adverse effects on sleep but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself if you are hoping to sleep well.

‘If going all out at mealtimes is on your holiday bucket list, try to enjoy a big meal with lots of exciting food at lunch time instead of dinner. 

‘Complex foods, if eaten just before bedtime will keep your body busy trying to digest them and will keep you longer in the REM (rapid eye movement) state of sleep – where you experience more vivid dreams – thus, increasing the risk of bad dreams and interrupted sleep.

‘Snacking on foods that are rich in naturally occurring sleep-promoting chemicals such as melatonin and magnesium, which promote sleep and muscle relaxation, is a good way to boost the circadian rhythm (that regulates the sleep–wake cycle) whilst on holiday. 

‘Try a bowl of cherries by the pool or a refreshing banana and strawberry smoothie for a holiday snack with hidden benefits.’

ENJOY A GLASS OF WATER WITH EACH BOOZY DRINK YOU HAVE 

‘Enjoying a fruity cocktail or a glass of wine is a holiday indulgence many of us look forward to,’ said Thomas. ‘However, although alcohol may help you feel sleepy or help you drift off quicker, it actually has stimulant as well as sedative effects. 

‘The consumption of alcohol has continually been linked to poor sleep quality and quantity, disrupting natural sleep cycles.

‘Again, indulging earlier in the day and easing up in the hours before bed is a good way of enjoying yourself without having to compromise a healthy sleep schedule. 

‘Enjoy a boozy drink on the beach and then switch to mocktails at dinner for all the taste and none of the headache.

‘Another tip is to have a glass of water for every alcoholic drink consumed. This means you won’t become dehydrated whilst drinking. 

‘Hydrating on holiday is a must for overall health as traveling and new climates can easily dehydrate the body, resulting in sluggishness and fatigue; not what you want during your well-earned time away.’

Thankfully, sleep experts have revealed the steps British holiday-goers can take to ensure they have a peaceful night's rest - even on the first day of arriving somewhere new (stock photo)

Thankfully, sleep experts have revealed the steps British holiday-goers can take to ensure they have a peaceful night’s rest – even on the first day of arriving somewhere new (stock photo)

STAY WITHIN AN HOUR OF YOUR NORMAL WAKE AND SLEEP TIMES – BUT DO HAVE AN AFTERNOON NAP 

The expert explained: ‘Sleep is definitely one of the biggest perks of a holiday. No early morning alarm to jolt you out of your dreams means you can sleep for as long as your heart desires. 

‘If you are away and have travelled west, then you can lie in and still be one of the first up due to the time difference – perfect for getting to the attractions before the crowds descend.

‘Aim to stay within an hour or two of your normal wake and sleep times. This way, when you go home, your body won’t be too thrown off its routine. 

‘Even on holiday, a consistent wake up and bedtime is a good idea for you to feel rested and energised for the day ahead.

‘Enjoying an afternoon siesta is another holiday perk and actually works with our bodies’ natural energy dip in the early afternoon. 

‘Take full advantage of the free time to enjoy an afternoon nap and rest your body; just make sure not to nap too late in the day and disrupt your night-time sleep pattern.’

MIMIC THE SOUNDS YOU USUALLY HEAR WHEN YOU SLEEP 

Hayley Thistleton, Sleep Expert at Sleepseeker explained that the ‘first night effect’ refers to when the brain displays a sense of increased vigilance when you initially try to fall asleep in new surroundings. 

To help you get a restful sleep, even on the first night, she said: ‘Minimise or maximise noise, depending on how quiet (or noisy) you like it when you sleep. 

‘If you’re used to sleeping in complete silence, you will want to request a room on a higher floor, away from elevators and meeting rooms. I’d also strongly advise carrying earplugs and using them. 

‘However, if you’ve always lived on a noisy street and find it impossible to sleep in silence, try playing some white or pink noise or perhaps, download a sleep-aiding app and follow the voice guide’s instructions.’

SET THE AIR CONDITIONING TO 16-18 DEGREES 

Sleep expert Steve Adams at Mattress Online said: ‘If you have the option of paying for air conditioning in your room, do it.

’16-18 degrees is the optimum room temperature for sleep, so being able to control the temperature will be a blessing, especially when visiting warmer destinations.’

Expert Thomas added: ‘Sleep in breathable cotton bedding and pyjamas that will allow the air to circulate and also draw moisture away from your body.

‘If you stayed out in the sun for a little too long and now have sunburn, make sure to cool the room before bed. 

‘The optimum bedroom temperature for sleep is around 16-18°C and the cool sheets will feel good on your heated skin, allowing you to drift happily off to sleep.’

REPLICATE YOUR HOME SLEEP ENVIRONMENT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE 

‘Our brains are hardwired to sleep more lightly when in new surroundings, so we are more “alert”‘, explained Thomas. ‘This biological response isn’t so necessary on holiday, but it does result in broken sleep for the first few nights in a new location.

‘To avoid this issue, a good trick is to replicate your home sleep environment as much as possible. If you usually sleep with the door to your right, sleep on that side of the bed too when you are away. 

‘Bring a scent that reminds you of home, whether a perfume or a fresh t-shirt that smells of your bedsheets, that will also signal familiarity to your brain and allow it to relax in the new space. 

‘And if you have a favourite pillow, pack a travel version of it to ensure comfort levels are just the same as at home.

‘Finally, recreate your usual bedtime routine as much as possible – similar to preparing for bed on a plane. 

‘Going through the motions will tell your brain that sleep is coming and send sleep-cues to your body, making falling and staying asleep easier to achieve.’

STAY ACTIVE IN THE DAY

Steve said: ‘It goes without saying that the more active you are on holiday, the more tired you will be at bedtime. 

‘Even on beach holidays, try to build periods of activity into your day. For example, why not have a day at the beach instead of lounging by the pool?

‘You don’t need to be hugely energetic (you’re on holiday after all!). Even just 30 minutes of mild exercise — such as a swim or walk — can make all the difference.’

Hayley added: ‘On the day leading up to your first night, try to immerse yourself in as much activity as you can. 

‘Spend the day walking around and if you can, get in a swim session to really tire your muscles out. 

‘If you land at your destination later in the day, when it’s too late to go out and explore, use your hotel’s gym facilities, followed by a nice relaxing shower. You’ll find yourself dozing off without even trying.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk