Why we suffer from insomnia in strange beds

We’re on vacation and still don’t sleep well, at least the first night. American researchers have studied the phenomenon and discovered what strange beds do to the brain. “If you change your pillow, you don’t sleep,” says a Japanese proverb. American researchers have now discovered why the first night in strange beds is often characterized by sleep disturbances: the left hemisphere of the brain remains in a kind of alert position in the unfamiliar environment and remains more awake than the right , report Yuka Sasaki of Brown University in Providence and their colleagues in the recent issue of Current Biology.

The human brain has things in common with whales

“We know that marine animals and some birds have such single-hemisphere sleep, in which one half of the brain stays awake and the other is asleep,” explains the professor of cognitive linguistics and psychology. It is true that the human brain does not work as asymmetrically as that of sea creatures. But it’s possible that “our brain has a miniature system of what whales and dolphins have,” says Sasaki. Result: On the first night, the left hemispheres of the brain were particularly easy to process in the otherwise restful long-wave deep sleep phase. The difference could be seen in the so-called default mode network. It is probably activated in the waking state when doing nothing, produces some background noise and generates daydreams and thought chains.

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