Why we sleep worse in strange beds

Why we sleep worse in strange beds

Sleeps best in your own bed - but why? Researchers have found out why we often toss around restlessly in strange beds.
The first night in an unfamiliar environment is not particularly relaxing for most of us: we toss around and sleep restlessly. A team of researchers from Brown University in America has investigated why we often sleep so badly in strange beds - and the results have now been published in the journal "Current Biology".

Based on the fact that some birds and marine animals only sleep with one hemisphere of their brains to protect themselves from possible risks, the team investigated the question of whether there is a similar mechanism in humans that keeps us awake in a strange environment for self-protection.

To do this, the scientists analyzed the sleep of 35 volunteers in the first and eighth nights in the sleep laboratory using brain wave measurements and imaging techniques. In fact, the brain hemispheres of the test subjects were differently active during the first night: The left side was very easy to speak to during the normally restful first deep sleep phase and was sensitive to noise. So she was more vigilant than the right one - and responsible for the restless sleep.

Take your own pillow with you when traveling!

The team has not yet been able to find out why it is the left and not the right hemisphere of the brain. But it could also be that the hemispheres of the brain take turns paying attention during the night. In any case, this partial brain activity is a mechanism that protects us from danger in unfamiliar environments.

Actually a good thing, but because nowadays we no longer sleep outside in the wilderness, but usually in a protected room, this first night effect can take our last nerve. To outsmart him, we can take our own pillow with us when we travel or stay in similar accommodations. Over time, our brain may even learn to switch off the protective mechanism on its own.

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