What is the first night effect
First night effect: the left hemisphere is awake in an unfamiliar environment
Whether after moving, traveling or staying overnight with friends: the first night in a strange bed is in many cases not very relaxing. The next day we often feel exhausted - although at first glance the place to sleep met all the requirements for a restful night.
But as American scientists have now found out, the sleep goods we bed on can be as good as any. In unfamiliar surroundings, we simply cannot switch off properly.
This is due to our very own instincts, which once helped us to survive.
In a foreign country, people are on alert
As scientists from the USA found out on the basis of a study with 35 test persons, people perceive the unknown environment as stress. Smells, noises and visual impressions are unfamiliar and strange. The organism is more tense, more attentive and more alert than usual. Sleep is unconsciously perceived as a particularly vulnerable state - a holdover from times long past, when humans had to fear predators and storms.
As a result, the person cannot slip into the deep sleep that brings relaxation, but remains on alert. His strategy: “one-hemisphere sleep”. The left hemisphere remains active and provides the supposedly necessary security - always ready to flee.
A phenomenon that scientists usually encounter in the animal kingdom. Because both birds and marine animals sleep this way. The fact that we humans also use this type of night's sleep is a completely new insight.
Improve sleep in someone else's bed with a few tricks
If you want to counteract the first-night effect, you should try to make the foreign environment less threatening. We recommend taking the pillow from home or at least the pillowcase with you so that the person resting is surrounded by a familiar odor. Children’s favorite stuffed animal helps as a companion to help them sleep better. In addition, the usual bedtime rituals should be continued, for example enjoying a pot of tea or your favorite music.
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