Every day in a city feels like an adventure. They are exciting and exhausting in equal measures. But if I’m so tired, then tell me why can’t I sleep? Well, the one downside about cities as far as I can see, is that it can be quite hard to get some shuteye. They are big, brash, busy and bright, all things that don’t really help us to nod off. And being unable to sleep of course is increasingly known to have big repercussions for our health. Luckily we have 3 top tips to help you fall asleep in new cities during a trip.
1. Drown out the noise
Cities are loud, there is no escaping that. Whether it is the honking of horns, the screeching of the train on track or the nearby chatter of a bustling night market, all are the unavoidable soundtrack of city life. Well, not quite unavoidable. Three super useful sleep aids can come to your help here: earplugs, headphones and white-noise generators.
Earplugs are good for those of you who need perfect quiet for sleep. Jam them in and get to some serious snoring. But even earplugs can sometimes struggle to block out the loudest city noises, say a pack of feral cats fighting in the alleyway. For those trickier noises, headphones and some music or a good podcast can be a salvation.
But if the dulcet tones of a historian droning on about the history of the Roman Toilet just aren’t your thing, or you just can’t sleep with things in your ears then why not try a white-noise generator. White noise generators are great little contraptions, and no longer are they limited to emitting that incessant static sound, most now comes with a whole repertoire of sounds, from waterfalls to whalesong. You can even record your own sounds to be played back to you at night. But nothing is better than sleeping on a comfy bed. There are hundreds of different type mattress materials so doing research is a key. Sources like the www.topmattress.com is a great start.
2. Block out the lights
Argh, why is it so bright!? With the combined effect of street lights, billboards and neon shop signs it can be impossible to tell when the day end and the night begin in the city. This is, of course, part of why they are so exciting but it is also a nightmare for the unevolved caveman part of our brains that still associate daylight with being awake. Now, there isn’t much we as individuals can do to turn down the brightness of cities but we can ensure where we sleep is as dark as possible.
The simplest and cheapest way is to just get an eye mask. But if you want to get a little bit more serious about this then equip your bedroom – or better still, your entire apartment – with good quality blackout blinds or curtains. And don’t stop there, keeping all light at a minimum is good in the run-up to sleepy times. So swap out your bright fluorescent bulbs for low-watt bulbs. And get into the habit of using well-placed lamps in the evening instead of the main room light. It may seem small but it all helps.
3. Drink smarter
Now you’re not going to like me after this – but if you want more sleep you have to cut down on caffeine and alcohol. I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me that half the joy of living in a city is being able to share a cup of coffee with a friend or a post-work beer – or six – with colleagues, but neither is helping you sleep. Caffeine remains in your system far longer than you would suspect. Up to six hours in fact. So do yourself a favour and make sure your chats over coffee and cake are organised for long before the sun sets.
And while the last drink of the evening might be called a nightcap it certainly isn’t going to help you sleep. Alcohol may help us nod off initially the processes it sets in motion in our body and mind that is almost guaranteed to lead to a terrible night’s sleep. So, if you want a good night’s rest maybe swap the G&T for a cup of camomile tea.
There you have it – three top tips for beating city-induced insomnia. If after reading the above you are still struggling to get some shuteye then pop over to the Sleep Advisor site and get some more useful hints and tips.