You know when I sleep in a new place for the first time, they have half of our brain still awake?
“Did you sleep well?”
I’ve asked a lot of questions of his friends after they spent a night on my couch. Turns out, most of them lie in answering that: “Very cool!” The trouble sleeping in a completely new environment is common that neuroscientists have given it the name FNE – the first night effects (first-night effect).
New research shows that, basically, FNE is a neurological equivalent of sleeping with one eye open. A study published recently in the journal Current Biology, said the first time you sleep in a new environment, then only half of your brain is actually resting.
The researchers have conducted studies on people sleeping in a new environment by measuring brain wave activity in their third phase – the deepest stage of sleep cycles. In the first experiment, the researchers found that the subjects experienced sleep more activity in the left hemisphere than the right hemisphere in the first night of sleep, meaning that the left hemisphere is still relatively to be alert to their surroundings. When the owner can continue to sleep in the same place in the second night, the asymmetry between the two hemispheres will disappear and both hemispheres will rest completely.
Lots of birds or mammals underwater life, including dolphins and sea lions, have the same form of sleep. Only half of our brain is completely rested so they can be alert to potential threats as they slept. To check the sleep patterns of human asymmetry in unfamiliar environments can serve the same function or not, the researchers explored whether characteristics of FNE light sleep can make sleeping actors react more to external stimuli.
To do this, the researchers asked subjects: during sleep, if any sound heard anything, tap your fingers when you wake up. The subject of the two evenings sleeping in the same place, and the researchers are audio enabled both 2 nights. The response time from sound to sound pat on the first day faster than the second day. This indicates that since FNE, the brain is not only more alert but also wake up faster.
The researchers are not sure why FNE cause alertness in the left hemisphere rather than the right hemisphere, but they said that because the hemisphere are different tuning. Neural connections between the part of the brain – which takes place deep sleep, known as the “default mode network”, and the rest of the brain stronger in the left hemisphere.
This can make for sanity in the left hemisphere more useful sanity in the right hemisphere, because the stronger the connection can generate faster response to stimuli perceived during sleep . Even the comfort level of the bed is not important when it comes to sleeping in a new environment. “In our research, we have collected a subjective report of sorrow, not peace of mind.” – Yuka Sasaki,
one of the researchers conducting the trial said. “No one really showed discomfort in the first period, but all of them indicated FNE.” These results show that a light sleep, asymmetry that we spent the first night in a new environment is actually a protective mechanism in us. But, fortunately, we can return to a deep sleep once we are familiar with a new place.