The human brain is always on the alert for danger. It works consistently at monitoring for new threats. That is how the brain is wired. Normally, this is not a problem, however a recent study concluded that when someone spends the night in a new place, this survival mechanism could work against the person. The brain, or at least half of it, is staying awake looking for danger. β€œThe so-called first night effect seems to be caused by the difference in brain activity between the two hemispheres β€” the more pronounced this difference, the harder it was for participants to fall asleep. The hemisphere with increased activity also showed greater response to sounds β€” the team found that playing beeping noises in the right ear (corresponding to the left hemisphere) woke participants up more easily than when played in the left ear.”

This study concludes that when we are sleeping in unfamiliar places, half our brain is dedicated to keeping watch over us and would impact on sleep. However, if a person is used to traveling a lot, they may not be affected as much. If someone is planning on traveling soon, developing strategies to address sleep challenges could be helpful. At least knowing why you may have difficulties could help in implementing a plan of action. click for more