Has it happened to you that, when you are sleeping in a place for the first time, you don’t really rest well? You have a very light sleep and any little noise can wake you up? For me it’s a regular thing when I sleep in a new place. I remember traveling as a journalist around the world, not being able to rest properly. Also during holidays, I was set to rest deeply but I just couldn’t really relax during the first night in that unknown hotel, or even in a friend’s house.

The great thing is that science has found the reason and the cure for this very common “first night” light sleep effect. A report from Current Biology explains how researches of Brown University in Providence, R.I have proven that the left brain “stands guard” during a regular night sleep, and a first night in an unfamiliar environment is even worse.

We already knew that some aquatic mammals and birds sleep with half a brain at a time, a trick called unihemispheric sleep. Scientists thought until this new research came out, that humans, however, did not show this asymmetry in their sleep time. But now we know we do. 

How does it happen? Not so complicated… Your right ear feeds sound to your left brain that is hyper alert. Since your left brain is constantly hyperalert and doesn’t really rest it reacts to the sound waking you up.

So if you are moving around as a tourist sleeping in a different room every night, or if you are a business person always traveling and sleeping  in a new environment, what can you do to reduce the impact of this hyper-alertness of the left brain?

Simple: You can sleep on the right ear or use earplugs.

ALSO, develop your breathing for deepest sleep and relax your body just before going to bed. That will make a big difference.