Didn’t Sleep the First Night at Hotel? Blame it On Your Left Brain

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Left Active

Scientists from Brown University, US, have decoded the phenomenon why most people do not fall asleep on the first night in a new place. The reason they cite is because the left hemisphere of the brain remains active apparently in a state of readiness for trouble.

This phenomenon, scientists say, could be an evolutionary throwback that may have allowed our ancestors to sleep while watching out for predators. Researchers during the course of over three experiments examined 35 volunteers for two nights; with a gap of one week between two nights. On the first night in the lab, researchers found that slow-wave activity i.e. deep sleep was lower in the left side of the brain implying that it was more alert. Moreover, when the left side was stimulated with irregular beeping sounds it triggered a greater likelihood of waking up to the sounds when compared to the right side of the brain. On the second night of the sleep, there was no significant difference between the left and right side of the brain.

Scientists were looking at what they call the ‘first-night effect’ phenomenon that often affects business travellers. "If you need to be well-rested for an event, think about arriving two nights early," said study co-author Masako Tamaki.

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