SAnthropology: we have evolved to be on guard on the first night when sleeping in a new place.
Man is still a hunter. We may live in cities and believe we are advanced but our genes have evolved to survive in the wild outdoors beneath the starlit night sky. If we move into a new environment getting a good night's sleep on the first night is a problem. Our brain is "on-guard" against unknown dangers.
This phenomenon is in all animals. One hemisphere of the brain will sleep while the other remains on sentry duty. This "first-night-effect" is permanent. There is no cure because it isn't an illness. After the first night the brain adapts, records the new environment and deems it to be safe.
Tests show that the left hemisphere sleeps lighter in a new situation. Slow-wave activity is weaker than the right hemisphere. Furthermore, the default-mode network which involves mind wandering is more active. This indicates that the brain is checking the environment. Sleeping test subjects were played some normal and some unusual sounds. The left hemisphere became even more alert when it heard unusual sounds or even loud sounds. After the first night the brain became "normalized" then no such activity was observed.
◆ Anthropolgy by Ty Buchanan ◆
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