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What to Do When You Have Trouble Sleeping in a New House

Monday, April 17, 2023

You may spend the first night in a new house tossing and turning in the bed in vain search of a good pose. No wonder you have trouble sleeping in a new house. Everything is different. Your new house feels different, smells different, and even sounds different. Add the traces of excitement (or perhaps stress) of recent relocation, and you have the uncalled-for recipe for sleepless nights.

As we age, getting a good night's sleep can be challenging. Moving to a new home can exacerbate this problem. 

This blog will provide helpful tips and strategies to ease the transition and promote restful sleep for those over 50 experiencing trouble sleeping in their new home.

An Asian American women having trouble sleeping in her new house

Why Do We Have Trouble Sleeping in a New House? 

The inability to fall asleep after moving to a new place does not make you an overly delicate person, like the title character in the “Princess and the Pea” fairy tale. Having trouble sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings is a recognized condition that has a scientific name. It is called the first-night effect. A current biology study listed above suggests that part of our brain works as a night watch in an unfamiliar environment to protect us. Consequently, we take longer to fall asleep, sleep less, and dream less.

The good news is that the first-night effect usually lasts only one night. However, that does not mean you’ll sleep like a baby from day two after moving. Several other factors can disturb your sleep pattern, making you ask: “Why do I have trouble sleeping?” Here are some of the possible causes:

  • Adjustment insomnia: Also known as short-term or acute insomnia, adjustment insomnia is often caused by a stressful life event. And moving home is right there at the top of stressful life events! Short-term insomnia can last from several days to about three months.
  • Trouble sleeping anxiety: Unfortunately, anxiety has a way of perpetuating itself. So, if you have problems sleeping for a few nights, you may become anxious about not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep. And the more you worry, the fewer chances you have of getting a good night’s rest.
  • Pains and aches: Moving often implies moving boxes and rearranging furniture. Your body might respond with intense pain signals, especially in the lower back, that will keep you awake.
  • Medications and medical conditions: Some medications prescribed for high blood pressure, inflammation, asthma, and depression may cause sleep issues, as can decongestants and nicotine replacements. Talk to your doctor if you suspect that a medication is responsible for your poor sleep. Also, seek medical advice if any of the following symptoms prevent you (or your partner) from sleeping: restless legs, snoring, or a burning sensation in your stomach, chest, or throat.
A woman over 50 reading a book in bed to help herself fall asleep in a new place

How to Sleep Well in a New Home

Practicing healthy habits during the day and before going to bed is a crucial step to sleeping well. These habits, known as sleep hygiene, are the most effective long-term solutions, even for people with chronic insomnia. 

Experts from AASM Sleep Education recommend these tips for establishing healthy sleeping habits:

  • Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. A moderate daily walk will make you feel better and sleep better
  • Don’t eat a large meal in the evening, and avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soda) and alcohol. Also, don’t consume a lot of liquids for about two hours before bedtime.   
  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime and dim your lights.
  • Keep a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. 
  • Don’t go to bed unless you feel sleepy. If you are still awake after 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet activity like reading, keeping the lights relatively low. Do not switch on any electronics. 
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine and keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and comfortably cool.

More Tips to Sleep Well

Here are some more little tricks and bedtime routines conducive to good sleep. See which one suits you best.    

  • Listen to white noise: While it may not be a good idea to use white noise regularly, it can help you fall asleep by drowning the noises of an occasional party in the neighborhood. Buy a white noise machine, an indoor fountain, or a fan. You can also get a white noise app on your phone, but remember what the experts say: no electronics! 
  • Soothe your achy back: When your back hurts after the move or another activity, put a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back. Side-sleepers should place a pillow between their knees to keep the spine aligned parallel to the mattress. Never sleep on your stomach, even if your back does not hurt. 
  • Have separate duvets: If you share a bed with your partner, consider getting two smaller duvets instead of one large. That way, each can choose the duvet thickness since people have different notions of what is “comfortably cool”. The bonus is that there will be no more duvet-pulling bouts.  
An Asian American woman meditating in her garden before bedtime to relax and reduce sleeping anxiety
  • Do some light exercises: Avoid vigorous exercises a few hours before bedtime. Instead, do some gentle stretches and movements. For example, you may lie on your bed with your hips close to the wall and place your legs on the wall, forming an L shape. Relax for several minutes and focus on your breathing. Then bend your knees and gently swing your legs to the side. Remain in a fetal position for a few moments before getting under the duvet. 
  • Try box breathing: Lie in bed, close your eyes, and relax. Inhale slowly through your nose while counting to four, hold your breath for another count of four, slowly exhale for a count of four, then hold your breath for the final count of four. Repeat this pattern six or more times. While you breathe, visualize moving up, across, down, and again across the sides of a square.
  • Read a book: Reading until you feel drowsy can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. However, avoid reading on an electronic device, steer clear of emotionally disturbing subjects, and don’t read for too long.

Why Is Sleep so Important?

Sleep is crucial for our health and well-being. It allows your body and mind to rest and recharge. According to MyHealthfinder, regular quality sleep can help you:

  • Get sick less often.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Lower the risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. 
  • Reduce stress and improve your mood.
  • Think more clearly and make good decisions.
  • Get along better with people.
  • Avoid injuries, for example, in traffic.

Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. It is also important to get your sleep during the night because our bodies have a biological clock that follows the day-night pattern. 

An African American woman over 50 getting ready for a run after a good night’s sleep

Sleep Better In a New House While Shyft Handles your Move

Moving home can cause stress and anxiety, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. With so much to do, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself during relocation. However, if you are not getting enough sleep, you will quickly become exhausted, physically and mentally.

People over 50 are more likely to suffer consequences if they do not rest properly every night. To relieve the stress of moving and get a good night’s sleep as often as possible, let AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft handle your relocation. 

Shyft is a moving marketplace that enables you to organize your move quickly and without stress. Shyft will take your inventory without setting foot in your house, find the best pricing options, connect you with a reliable moving company, and oversee the entire process door-to-door. 

You will have access to a dedicated Shyft Move Coach who will work with you to ensure a stress-free moving experience. You can rest assured that your belongings will safely reach their destination and that there will be no additional fees or hidden costs. 

Moreover, AARP members receive an exclusive discount of up to $250 for every move. 

Here’s how to take advantage of moving home the Shyft way in a few easy steps:

  • Download the Shyft Next app for iPhone or Android devices and schedule a video chat with a Shyft representative online or by phone at 1-888-501-3181.
  • During the 30-minute video call, point the camera on your device at the items you want to take to your new home. The Shyft representative, your dedicated Move Coach, will create an inventory list, which is usually 95% accurate. You are free to change it until you make it 100% accurate.
  • Take time to review the inventory list. When you are satisfied, forward it to your Move Coach.
  • Your inventory list with details such as moving distance and the timeframe goes to a secure Shyft platform, where verified moving companies bid for your business. This guarantees that the pricing is competitive.
  • You will receive three or more top quotes. Select the one that fits your needs and budget. Once you accept a moving quote, the price is locked and cannot be changed unless you add or remove items, change the move distance, or fail to book your move before the quote expires. This means that you will know exactly how much you are going to pay. 

Whichever company handles your move, your dedicated Shyft Move Coach will oversee the entire process, ensuring that high-quality standards are met. You may contact your Move Coach with any questions or concerns anytime during the relocation process.

When Shyft handles your move, you can sleep soundly and enjoy your new life without the stress that often accompanies moving.

Shyft is available to you 24/7. Book your move now and claim your AARP member discount! 

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