There is a word/phrase which explains why we don't get sleep when we are in a new place. AFAIK it is/was due to the fact that our hunterer-gatherer ancestors were prey and at times when they moved they didn't know that the new place is secure or not. Does anybody know a word/phrase which describes it rather than going through the whole wordy description ?

  • Huh. I don't experience this. I wonder how widespread it is.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 6, 2016 at 20:29
  • 1
    there is no commonly used idiom for this in my experience. US english speaker.
    – user175542
    Nov 9, 2016 at 1:02
  • If it's because you're in a different timezone, the best word is "jet lag". If it's just because it's a new and strange place, I know what you mean, but I can't immediately think of a phrase to capture it. Apr 16, 2019 at 12:38

2 Answers 2


We haven't been hunter-gatherers for a very long time, but some people do suffer from insomnia when they travel. Long hours on the road or rapid long-distance trans-meridian travel on high-speed airplanes can prevent many a traveller from getting a good night’s sleep. That's what we call "travel-induced insomnia".

  • Travellers going long distances on jet planes have to readjust their sleeping hours in a new place. Presidents and Prime Ministers take injections of sleep-inducing drugs to overcome travel-induced insomnia and to readjust to new working hours when travelling abroad.
  • did you read the link I share, it does talk about something called the first-night effect but even yours could be the thing.
    – shirish
    Nov 6, 2016 at 20:51
  • the term is "jet lag".
    – user175542
    Nov 9, 2016 at 1:03
  • 1
    ok. but nobody says "travel-induced insomnia", ever.
    – user175542
    Nov 9, 2016 at 23:57
  • We're good. the OP now has options!
    – user175542
    Nov 10, 2016 at 0:56

Usually people just say, "I didn't sleep well because I wasn't in my own bed" or "I don't sleep well in a strange bed."

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