The just-concluded holiday season is the time of the year when a lot of us were sleeping in unfamiliar beds as we traveled for Christmas and New Year’s.

But did you ever notice that the farther away you get from home the worse your ability to get a good night’s sleep becomes?

For years I’ve blamed lousy mattresses and lumpy pillows for my tossing and turning on vacation. But according to a new scientific study, there may be something much bigger at play here.

Findings in a new report in the journal Current Biology say it’s all in our heads.

According to a team of researchers at Brown University, our brains just won't shut completely off in a strange place, allowing us to be able to have ‘faster responses to risk factors’ that may come with your new surroundings. That heightened state of alert means a greatly diminished ability to relax and fall into a deep sleep.

This is especially true during that initial attempt at shut-eye or the ‘first night effect’ as the study refers to it.

So, there’s good news and bad news here.

The bad? If you’re only spending one night away from home, don’t count on feeling very refreshed when you wake up in the morning – that is if you sleep at all.

The good news? The longer you’re away, the better you’ll sleep. So, feel free to tack on a couple of extra days to your vacation.

All in the name of science.


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