There's a scientific reason why you have difficulty sleeping in unfamiliar beds and places 5 years ago

There's a scientific reason why you have difficulty sleeping in unfamiliar beds and places

A new study has suggested that the reason we fail to sleep well in new places is down to a residual survival instinct.

If you've ever slept at a mate's house or a hotel, the chances are you've woken up having had a restless and scattered night's sleep.

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Well, sleep scientists Masako Tamaki and Yuka Sasaki from Brown University have conducted a study on people's brains as they slept, and found that in a new environment only half of the brain sleeps, while the other half (the left hemisphere) remains alert.

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Sleep scientists call it the First-Night-Effect (FNE), and it has affected humans for years, but it was never fully understood before now.

The study, which can be read here, found that a person's brain had asymmetrical patterns of sleep activity, with one half of the brain remaining active, although not fully alert, and reactive to outside stimulus. This trait is also present in some animals such as dolphins and whales who are vulnerable when asleep and need to remain alert.

The scientists are hopeful that they can discover a way to shut off this trait now that they know more about it, meaning those who travel regularly for work or pleasure might start getting a better night's kip.