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How the 'First Night Blues' can be Impacting your Health.

Dr. Anthony Warren, 14/09/2017

THE FIRST NIGHT EFFECT IS A LITTLE DISCUSSED OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD THAT CAN NEVERTHELESS BE DANGEROUS.

'Road Warriors' is a colloquial term for employees who spend a significant time traveling away from home.  Typical careers are salespersons, consultants, flight crews, truck drivers etc.

The 'first-night effect' is a primitive instinct that we all have that prevents us getting a good night's sleep the first time in a new place. Subconsciously we are worried about lurking predators, strange noises and surroundings.  Schedules that demand a different motel night after night especially combined with irregular bed-times is very damaging.  It can impact your overall health, lead to poor decision making and even lead to increased chance of accidents. And the impact may last more than just for the first night.

You should therefore be concerned about the impact that sleep deprivation from this effect could have on your health and performance. Maybe you should build-in some more free time on long trips. This will benefit both you and your employer.  You can read more here on the research supporting these findings, http://bit.ly/2xgBdO5 .

Reference: "The first night effect may last more than one night", Le Bon et. al, Jnl. of Psychiatry Res. Vol. 36: 3, May

-Jun 2001, pp. 165-172