Our latest survey into the sleep habits of the nation looked at how the process of moving house can impact upon sleep quality, revealing that the upheaval and stress of the situation can lead to an alarming loss of sleep in the short term. Of the 2,531 participants in our poll, some 74% said that their sleep patterns had been negatively affected by moving, making it an overwhelmingly common issue. Of those who suffered sleep loss, the average nightly disruption was a massive 3 hours and 59 minutes, lasting for 11 days – totalling 44.8 hours of lost sleep - more than enough to constitute chronic sleep deprivation. Considering the effects of such severe sleep deprivation perhaps it’s not surprising that 49% of respondents said that they never wanted to move house again!
When it came to specific reasons behind the sleep loss after moving house, the top five responses were;
- Stress – 49%
- Unfamiliar surroundings – 45%
- Noise pollution in new area – 36%
- Adjusting to living with partner / housemates – 28%
- Adapting to new bed / mattress – 15%
Stress came out top of the list of reasons behind sleep loss in our survey, which is understandable considering the various pressures associated with moving house. House moving is commonly said to be one of the most stressful events one can experience in life. While this might not be strictly true it’s not hard to understand how the combination of serious financial and lifestyle changes that moving house involves can lead to such a myth arising. Also, it would take a seriously laid-back person to not lose any sleep at all during such a life-changing transition.
The second most popular reason for sleep loss immediately after moving house was the unfamiliarity of the surroundings, which came close behind stress. Creating a comfortable, familiar and well-designed bedroom environment is vitally important for sleep, and it’s something that isn’t always possible in the first few weeks at a new house.
Ensuring that the room is as dark and quiet as possible, trying to achieve a clutter-free layout and focusing the ‘purpose’ of the bedroom unambiguously on sleep all contribute to a better night’s sleep, but these can all be difficult in the early days in a new house. Indeed, the third most popular response on our survey was unexpected noises, which create sleep disturbances during the night.
Another significant part of creating a familiar bedroom environment is décor and colour schemes, which can typically take a back-seat to more urgent tasks when moving house. This can lead to spending time in a bedroom that’s not to your own taste, which can be unsettling in itself.
With such a collection of sleep-influencing factors, it’s no surprise that unfamiliarity made the list.
The sleep-loss experienced when moving in with a partner made the top five list, which in reality covers a whole host of diverse sleep disturbances. Our 2013 study into ‘Bed-Sharing Etiquette’ revealed that too much cuddling, dirty sheets, snoring, duvet hogging and ‘unwelcome bodily functions’ were some of the sleep-disrupting delights that awaited some unsuspecting partners when they shared a bed for the first time. We’d guess that discovering these things at the same time as moving house would be a recipe for a lot of sleepless nights.
How to sleep well in your new home
We’ve all been there – lying in bed until the early hours unable to sleep thanks to all those niggling thoughts and stresses whizzing around your head, not to mention the worries of the finances and logistics of your move. But those are issues that don’t need to be solved in that very moment as you’re trying to sleep, and that’s what practicing mindfulness is all about. Mindfulness focuses on the present – not the anxieties of the past or the obstacles of the future, but what’s relevant to that very present moment. Reminding yourself to keep track of your current thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first and most important step to mindfulness. You can read more about mindfulness here.
Write down your worries throughout the day – and what you’re going to do about them
Whilst this may seem like a trivial piece of advice to give, it can be very helpful to make a note of any worry as soon as it pops into your mind, and then also noting what you are doing or plan to do to fix the problem. This is useful for anybody whose mind races at night, not just those moving house. Putting things in writing can subconsciously tell the brain that the problem is being dealt with, and even if your mind still worries about those problems at night, it can be very calming to have a look at your notes, and see that actually, you’re fixing the problem and it really doesn’t need to be worried about right now. This technique can also make you more organised and productive.
Invest in a new mattress
Moving to a new home is a great opportunity to upgrade to a new mattress, and the vast majority of the population don’t replace their mattresses as often as is needed – mattresses at the lower-end of the market tend to lose their shape within two years. Getting a new mattress delivered to your new home is often much more convenient than transporting your current one, and here at Ergoflex we offer next day delivery, or delivery on a date of your choice.
Whilst sleep quality is often compromised when moving to a new home, it’s important to remember that this should only be a short-term problem, and will subside once you get truly settled in. What was your experience of moving home? Did it affect your sleep? Join in our conversation on Facebook or Google+.