Can’t Sleep in a Different Bed?
Whether you’ve slept in a hotel room, on a camping trip, or perhaps even a friend’s guest room, there’s a high chance you’ve found that you can’t sleep in a different bed. You wake up the next morning feeling groggy and tired, and now scientists believe they know why.
A new study published in the journal Current Biology suggests that one-half of the human brain remains on alert during the first night of sleep in an unusual environment.
The experiments carried out upon 35 young, healthy volunteers, measured brain activity over the course of two consecutive nights of sleep. The studies found that the left side of the brain remained more active than the right on the first night.
“When you sleep in a new place for the first time, a part of one side of the brain seems to stay awake for surveillance purposes, so you could wake up faster if necessary,” said senior study author Yuka Sasaki of Brown University.
What is being dubbed as the ‘First-Night-Effect’ (FNE) by sleep scientists, they found that whilst the active side wasn’t fully awake, it was much more active than the other – even responding to external stimuli. Subjects of the study experiencing FNE, for example, were jolted awake by “deviant” sounds, such as a creaking door or shrieking animals.
Armed with this knowledge, sleep scientists hope that they can figure out how to turn off the mechanism off – mainly for those who travel for business who might be sleeping in this state of alertness.