71% of people have lost a night’s sleep over the stress of moving.

71% of people lose sleep when moving house

Research shows that the average person sleeps for just 5 hours, 20 minutes the night before moving house – which is considerably less than the recommended number of 8 hours?

This research was uncovered by Happy Beds who surveyed 2,000 people about how the stress of moving house can cause sleep deprivation.

So given that spring and summer are the most popular times to move house, the sleep experts at Happy Beds have shared their top tips for getting a good night’s sleep should you be moving soon.  

Key stats - How the stress of moving house can impact your sleep:

After surveying 2,000 people, Happy Beds can reveal that:

  • 71% of people have lost a night’s sleep over the stress of moving.
  • The average person sleeps for just 5 hours, and 20 minutes the night before a big move.
  • The majority of respondents said it takes 3 to 4 days to fix their sleeping pattern after moving.
  • 48% of people have experienced a mishap when moving home, which is the main cause of stress.
  • Wardrobes are the piece of furniture that people dread moving the most.
  • 90% of people have previously had possessions broken in the process of moving, with the average cost of replacing broken items costing £196.

Sleep experts share seven ways to get a good night’s sleep in your new home

Did you know that the first-night insomnia of a new home is so common that it has its own name? It’s called the “first-night effect” and is caused by stress and the brain’s natural anxiety when sleeping in a new environment.

However, some small changes to your bedroom and behaviour can help you get an uninterrupted, natural sleep in your new home. Here are the seven most effective tips.

Don’t go too crazy with caffeine.

For many people, bundled in with move-in day is an increased reliance on caffeine. However, if you find yourself getting mentally tired, try avoiding high-caffeine drinks after lunchtime. The quarter-life of caffeine is around 12 hours, meaning it stays in your body for around that amount. That means if you opt for a pick-me-up drink at 4 PM, it’ll stay in your system until 4 AM the next day – that’s not too great for sleep.

Instead of drowning in coffee, opt for drinking a glass of water, taking short breaks, and going for a walk instead. Decaffeinated herbal teas are fine, too. Your body and brain will thank you later!

Unpack your bedroom first.

Whilst many people tend to unpack the kitchen first as it seems like the easiest option given that there are storage options already, you should unpack your bedroom first. After all, the last thing you want is to rush unpacking your bedroom at the end of the day and leave it half-finished as you’re too tired. Take your time and make it as comfortable as possible while adding bits and pieces from your older bedroom. If your room needs painting, we’d also recommend doing it another day as the strong smell of paint can keep you awake that night, too.

Make sure to take 10 minutes out of your day to walk around your new neighbourhood.

You can appease the suspicious, anxious side of your unconscious a little bit by having a walk around your new neighbourhood. Take a walk around the block and have a chat with your new neighbours if the opportunity arises. By familiarising yourself with both your new home and the neighbourhood itself, your brain will stop evaluating your new home as a potential danger.

It’s always nice to appreciate your new street and reflect on all of the hard work you’ve put in to get there. Making stops at a local corner shop or park can help you get orientated, too. Plus, you’ll be more productive if you do take some kind of break from unpacking.

Wake up bright and early on move-in day.

While you may think grabbing a few extra hours on move-in day is a good move, waking up bright and early to get some sunshine can put you in good stead. Scientifically, early morning sunlight reinforces your circadian rhythms, meaning you drift off to sleep more naturally and easily later in the day.

Skip the TV that night and instead pick up a book.

If you’ve been unpacking all day you may be tempted to watch a bit of TV to switch off at night, however, we’d suggest picking up a book instead. A study by The University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%, working faster and better than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music (61%) or walking (6%).

However, what is most impressive is that the study revealed that participants only needed to read for six minutes before their stress levels were reduced. So, given that the average reading speed is 1 page per minute, this means the average person only needs to read six pages before their stress levels are reduced, making this an easy habit to form for anyone.

Plus, reading an absorbing book also makes you more likely to experience an increase in slow-wave activity (a type of brain wave associated with deep sleep) during the initial stages of your sleep cycle, meaning you’ll have a deeper sleep overall and wake up feeling more restful – ready to finish any unpacking you didn’t manage to tackle on the first day.

Is anxiety keeping you awake? Add an icepack to your chest for 15 minutes.

If you find yourself wide awake with anxiety about the house move, you should add a towel-wrapped icepack to your chest and hold it there for 15 minutes. This helps cool down the vagus nerve (the longest nerve in your body), which is responsible for your parasympathetic nervous system. Throughout the 15 minutes, you will slowly see yourself calming down and your heart rate lowering to a more still-like rate. 

The night before your big move, practice sleep affirmations.

Sleep affirmations are positive statements or phrases that a person repeats to themself before going to bed. By repeatedly saying these positive sleep affirmations out loud, they reprogram their subconscious mind to adopt more positive thoughts about sleep as a whole. This is because it ‘tricks’ your mind to focus on more positive thoughts and feelings regarding asleep, allowing people to have a more restful and rejuvenated sleep. They also work at stopping (or at least limiting) the number of anxious thoughts. 

Some examples of sleep affirmations include:

  • “I will get seven hours of sleep tonight.” (This is the recommended amount.)
  • “I deserve a good night’s sleep, and will wake up tomorrow feeling energised.”
  • “I am fully prepared for the house move tomorrow, and know it will go well.”
  • “My stress and worries cannot control me. I am letting them go to promote peace, and will, therefore, have a good night’s sleep before moving house tomorrow.”
  • “My mind is calm, my eyes are tired and my body is looking forward to resting.”
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