A Sleep Expert Speaks: Why You Don't Sleep as Well in a New Bedroom

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Joy Richards - July 12, 2019 Hi, I’m Joy - Happy Beds' Sleep Specialist. Aside from Italian food and my three lovely boys, nothing makes me happier than helping our customers find what works for them, and how they can make the most of their forty winks.

A Sleep Expert Speaks: Why You Don't Sleep as Well in a New Bedroom

With the new school year quickly approaching and the sunny weather in full-swing, I’m hearing more and more of our customers are moving home. However, with new surroundings also comes sleep deprivation or disruption.

So, although I can recommend investing in new mattresses or other environmental improvements to help aid sleep, I thought it best to get back to the nitty gritty, speak to an expert, and find out what biological and psychological factors usually cause these kinds of sleep problems.

If you can’t sleep in your new home, you may like to read the explanation below.

 

The Likely Reason Why You Can’t Sleep in Your New Home

Leading UK psychotherapist and hypnotherapist Nick Davies told me:

“As a busy psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, I regularly treat couples going through a range of challenges in their relationships and moving home tends to be the most common, and it’s all to do with our basic needs, and uncertainty.

“If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you’ll find that our most basic needs are: air, water, food, shelter and sleep. Anyone who has moved home will know how stressful it is as we settle in to our new ‘shelter’, getting used to how we are going to store and prepare our food and most important the uncertainty of how and where we are going to sleep, as this is essential for us to recover and heal from our daily output.

“To explain this further, it is worth looking at a report that was published in 2016 after studying varying effects of stress and uncertainty with human participants who were asked to play a computer simulation where snakes would hide under different rocks.

The choices they had were, pick up ‘rock A’ or ‘rock B’, where one of the rocks would contain a picture of a snake and an electric shock would be administered. In order to measure the subjective stress ratings, pupil diameter and skin conductance was recorded.

“In this part of the experiment, the main conclusion was that both subjective and objective stress, peaked when uncertainty was highest. Stress hit highest levels when the participants had 50/50 chance on the simulation and therefore no idea whether they would get a shock administered or not. There are other studies that have the same links between uncertainty and stress, but not with such accuracy.

“So, it goes to prove, the more uncertain we are about something, and the longer it remains like this, the more stressed or anxious we are going to feel and this, in turn, will affect our ability to get deep, restorative sleep."  

 

What Biological Effect Does Stress and Anxiety Have on the Body?

As Nick explains:

“Stress and anxiety can cause your body’s autonomic nervous system (ANS) to release hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, which raise your heart rate to circulate blood around the body ready to take immediate action, if needed. This fight-or-flight style response therefore leaves you feeling alert and unable to relax ready for sleep.

“Alongside this, our heart and respiration rate increases, and our digestive tract becomes inhibited, so sugar levels increase in the blood. This means we crave sweeter food – stressed is desserts spelt backwards after all - which further perpetuates the stress response, our pupils then dilate letting more light in which also inhibits our ability to sleep."

“Lowering levels of stress and anxiety could dramatically improve duration and quality of sleep, so I would recommend getting organised with your move, unpacking your sleep essentials first, and to remember to take five minutes for yourself.”

If you can’t sleep in your new room and would like tips and advice on how to get your much-needed eight hours a night, please check out the below:

How to Sleep Better in a New Home

8 Top Tips for a Healthy Night’s Sleep

10 Foods That Help You Get a Quality Sleep  

 

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Sources:

Maslow image, Factoryjoe under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Survey image, Nature Communications volume7, Article number: 10996 (2016) Computations of uncertainty mediate acute stress responses in humans