a woman lying in bed with an eye mask on that has one eye open and one shut

Moving + Insomnia - Adjusting to New Sleep Environments

Last month, I moved to a new house. The actual move itself was incredibly exhausting and involved a lot of back and forth between the new place and the old one for several weeks leading up to the big day.

The first transition was sleeping at the new place before there was furniture present.

A welcome change of scenery

We had some work done on our new place before we moved in, and we also had some below-freezing temperatures to contend with. My husband and I alternated crashing at the new place and sleeping at the old one with who had early work meetings and who was with our daughter.

Our solution to the no furniture was setting up a cozy air mattress and blanket station in the basement of our new house – the only place that wasn’t getting painted at the time.

In truth, I loved this space way more than I'd expected. It was incredibly peaceful and the first change of scenery I'd had in a year based on the shelter-in-place pandemic life we'd all been living.

What I liked about the new environment

Here were the things that made this environment different than what we’d been used to:

  • The basement was colder than our bedroom, especially without furniture.
  • The basement was much darker than our bedroom, as the only widows were small and covered.

I was optimistic and also pleasantly surprised to find that the nights I stayed alone at the new house, I slept pretty decently. I’d fall into bed exhausted at night and fall asleep fairly quickly. Then, when I did wake up during the night, it was usually just to use the restroom, and going back to sleep was less difficult than it often was.

Applying my staycation learnings

Once the movers brought our furniture and we were officially in the new house, I took what I’d learned in my basement staycation to heart as we set up our new bedroom.

My insomnia was supported by a darker room and cooler temperatures.

So, the curtains we got for the windows in our bedroom were more blackout than the ones we’d used previously, and we closed the vents in our room, directing heat to other places in the house.

New sounds to get used to

The transition upstairs came with a few new adjustments – mainly sound. Having previously lived in a townhouse and before that an apartment, it’s been years since I’ve lived in a freestanding house.

This means that the wind, rain, snow, and other elements sound different when there are no buffers. We also have neighbor dogs that run around their yard and bark....a lot. This will take some getting used to.

Learning to adjust

Overall, I’ve been sleeping in my “final” new sleep environment for a few weeks now, and I’ll say I’m still learning ways to adjust it based on my insomniac needs.

Things like background noise (music, podcasts, meditations, audiobooks) and eyeshades are still really helpful to me. Some nights I’ve experienced halfway decent sleep here, and others haven’t been as easy, but I’m lucky and grateful to say that none have been terrible quite yet... although I know with insomnia that’s always possible, and usually without warning.

If you’ve moved recently, how have you adjusted to new sleep environments? How have you supported your insomnia?

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