IHG’s sleep hygiene tips to beat the ‘first night effect’

IHG - sleep hygeine

InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) has compiled a list of practices and habits – known as sleep hygiene – that can make the difference between restlessness and deep slumber.

If you can’t sleep the first night you arrive at your hotel room, chances are, you’re experiencing what IHG refers to as the ‘first night effect’. A global study commissioned by the group has revealed details around this topic, showing that lack of sleep is a primary concern for travellers.

Four in five (80%) stated they have trouble sleeping when travelling away from home. The research also found that business travellers lose around 58 minutes of sleep each night when staying away from home, averaging just five hours and 17 minutes of sleep. One of the major causes is a different environment (44%) followed by unfamiliar noises (35%) and working late (35%).

Below are IHG’s tips for you to sleep soundly on your first night:

Body, mind and bed

Your bed should be a place your body associates with sleep. Avoid working in bed, as this makes it more difficult to fall asleep since your brain will associate the bed with a place of work. You should also create a comfortable and relaxing environment possible, starting with the bedding.

Warm-up and cool down

Taking a warm shower or bath and cooling your room temperature helps bring on sleep. You’ll relax any tense muscles from travel or work, and when you get out of the water, your body will come down in temperature too. Experts recommend a cool 18 degrees but choose whatever temperature you prefer at home.

Unplug and turn down

Too much screen time before bed is detrimental to sleep as the light from screens tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Aside from the light, most devices find ways to stress or excite you, from social media notifications to a stressful work email. Try to stop using all electronics one full hour before bedtime.

(Don’t) let there be light

Light disturbs our internal biological clocks and can affect sleep. Draw your curtains tight and use a low-level night light for those midnight bathroom runs.

Sound asleep

Music has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body relax and prepare for sleep. Music has the power to slow your heart rate and breathing, lower your blood pressure and trigger your muscles to relax. These biological changes mirror some of the same changes that your body undergoes when you’re falling asleep, making music the perfect preparation for restorative sleep.

“A good night’s sleep … directly impacts a guest’s experience”

Pascal Gauvin, managing director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG said: “A good night’s sleep refreshes you for the day ahead, improving concentration, self-confidence and mood, which directly impacts a guest’s experience when travelling for business or pleasure. With so many travellers experiencing sleep disruptions, we want to do everything possible to ensure our guests have a restful sleep so they can get the most out of their trip.”

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