The purpose of a vacation is to relax the body and mind, escape everyday responsibilities, and return home refreshed. You may want to sleep on vacation, especially in the first few days.
It’s natural to feel tired when you first arrive on vacation. Travel can be stressful and exhausting, and the body will catch up on sleep denied by the pace of modern life.
If you still feel tired once you’ve adjusted to life on vacation, lifestyle is likely responsible. You may have altered your eating and drinking habits, and your brain relishes the break from thinking about work.
Different weather than you encounter at home influences energy levels. Extreme heat can make you sleepy, but cold weather vacations can be just as tiring as the body adjusts to a new climate.
When you arrive, sleeping in a hotel room may not be entirely restful, but changing bedrooms can help you sleep. You’ll be away from home-related disturbances, and hotel beds are usually comfortable.
Is There Such A Thing As Vacation Fatigue?
When people discuss feelings of lethargy and exhaustion surrounding vacation, they often refer to the period after the trip.
The excitement of time away, coupled with travel, followed by the ‘comedown’ of returning to reality and everyday routines, can lead to post-vacation fatigue.
Many of us feel extremely tired while on vacation, at least for the first 1-2 days. You may ask, “Is it normal to sleep more on vacation?”
The best thing about being on vacation is relaxing and unwinding. It’s an opportunity to catch up on the sleep you miss when working.
You may have leisure sickness if you’re under the weather and tired, showing signs of a cold or virus.’
As discussed in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, leisure sickness revolves around not switching off from a high-pressure working environment until now.
If you regularly find yourself growing unwell when you take a vacation and are seldom able to enjoy time away, adjustments to improve your work-life balance may be necessary.
Why am I Sleeping So Much During My Summer Break?
Sleeping your vacation away may feel like a waste of time, and you may initially be frustrated at your desire to rest. There are many potential reasons why you’re keen to sleep, including the following:
Exhaustion And Sleep Debt
Life in the 21st Century is rarely quiet and uneventful, and an opportunity to take a vacation should always be seized with both hands. Alas, transplanting yourself from one location to another won’t automatically remedy sleep debt or general exhaustion.
If you’ve been working hard in the build-up to a vacation, you may not get enough sleep to satisfy your body’s needs. Equally, your body may be tense and prepared to react quickly.
It takes the body and mind around 3 days away from daily responsibilities and commitments to unwind and relax fully. Your first 1-2 days of vacation may be compromised.
Catching up on sleep is the best outcome for the present and future.
Allowing yourself to rest will set a precedent for the rest of the vacation, encouraging yourself to sleep when you need to, and by repaying sleep debt early, you’ll likely have more energy later.
You may not feel entirely comfortable when you arrive. Many people struggle to sleep their first night in a strange place, especially a hotel. Psychophysiology calls this phenomenon “the first night effect.”
A sense of innate caution causes the first night effect. When we enter an unfamiliar location, our brains sometimes remain on high alert for any sign of potential danger, especially while we sleep.
Unless you’re taking a “staycation,” your summer break will involve significant travel.
Why does traveling make you so tired?
If you’re in a different time zone on your journey, it’ll take the body time to adjust to changes in anticipated time, especially if the circadian rhythms must also be reset.
Even if you stay in the country and don’t change time zones, never underestimate how stressful travel can be. This will add to your feelings of exhaustion.
You must focus on the road, weather conditions, and navigation for a long cross-country drive. If you’re flying, time spent in the air means the brain gets less oxygen, leading to sleepiness.
Don’t underestimate how stressful air travel can be. Even if you’re not a nervous flyer, which leads to exhausting feelings of anxiety, you’ll have a long list of concerns:
- Did you remember to pack your passport?
- Will your bags accidentally be shipped to the wrong location?
- If you need to change planes, will you miss your connecting flight?
- Will you experience turbulence in mid-air?
All these thoughts will likely race through your mind, potentially leaving you feeling so tired that you only want to sleep upon arrival at your destination.
The main idea of taking a vacation is to escape your everyday responsibilities. If you’re not running errands and meeting commitments, your body and mind may take the opportunity to rest.
You won’t need to get up and travel to work in the morning, which means no alarm at 6 AM.
This will likely lead to sleeping longer in the morning, rising when you feel suitably refreshed rather than when your schedule dictates that you need to.
Vacation time should also be an opportunity to forget about work completely.
Tourism Analysis claims that working on vacation isn’t as problematic as claimed, but it remains advisable to disconnect from your everyday reality if possible.
You’ll also likely relax more in your downtime. You won’t need to consider catching up with domestic duties like ironing, grocery shopping, laundry, or cleaning.
With all this free time, you may reward yourself with a nap.
This is okay as long as you’re not risking your sleep schedule. You may stay up later on vacation if you stay somewhere with an active nightlife.
Just be mindful of the impact of these changes when you return home. You must readjust to your usual schedule, which can take a while.
In addition to less responsibility, your lifestyle will likely change while on vacation.
Many people treat time away as an opportunity to indulge in food and drink, sampling local cuisine in cafés and bars. Depending on what you eat, you may be more sluggish if you consume heavy meals.
Many people on vacation also subscribe to the theory that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, so you may choose to drink alcohol during the day while relaxing.
As per Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, alcohol is simultaneously a stimulant and a sedative. An initial thrill may give way to sleepiness before long.
Even if you don’t change your lifestyle drastically, the relaxation associated with vacation may cause tiredness. You’re also less likely to rely on stimulants like caffeine throughout the day to remain mentally sharp and ensure you can make quick decisions.
Not all vacations revolve around relaxing at the pool or beach, either.
You may spend your days visiting tourist attractions, hiking and exploring, or engaging in adventurous physical activity. This stimulation will help you sleep well when you eventually retire to bed.
Warm weather destinations are extremely popular as vacation spots, and regular exposure to the sun will leave you feeling increasingly tired, especially if you aren’t used to intense heat.
If you’re wondering, “Why do I sleep better at the beach?” these temperatures are a likely explanation. It’s natural to feel sleepier when you spend hours in the sun, but be mindful of the impact of sun fatigue.
Moderate your time in the sunshine, seeking shade wherever possible, regularly hydrating, and ensuring you dress appropriately.
Sunglasses and a baseball cap or other headwear, alongside sunscreen with a high SPF, will keep exhaustion at bay until the sun goes down.
Cold weather can be tiring if you’re not a sun worshipper, preferring a skiing trip or a city break outside the traditional tourist season.
If you travel somewhere cold in the middle of summer, your body will need time to adjust as it may succumb to seasonal affective disorder.
Many people find that after the first night effect, they sleep peacefully for the remainder of the break.
If you ask, “Why do I sleep better in a hotel than at home?” the answer will likely revolve around change. If you live in an apartment in a major city but spend your vacation nights in a beachside hotel, the air will feel more humid, and the surroundings will be much quieter.
Hotel beds are intended to be comfortable. Unless you have spent big on a specialist mattress and pillows at home, you’ll likely enjoy a higher standard of living in a vacation complex.
Vacations, by their very nature, are a time to relax and switch off from the pressures of your everyday life.
This state of calm and serenity will encourage greater sleep. There’s no harm in sleeping a lot during a vacation as long as you’re still enjoying everything your destination offers.