It’s fair to say if you’ve booked yourself in to a nice hotel the very least you’d expect is a decent night’s kip. However the chances are you’ll have a shocker, at least for the first night if not for the next couple that follow. But why is this?
For some time, many health professionals have believed it’s because our brain is still Stoneage in technology, concerned primarily with our survival. In times when our ancestors lived in caves, and threats to safety very real, unfamiliar environments kept us on “alert” so that in the event an attack was imminent, we would be able to rouse from sleep easily and prepare for fight or flight.
Free Sleep Factsheet via Helping You Sparkle™.
Research by Yuka Susaki would seem to support this, documenting what is known as the “first night effect” (FNE). Essentially, his study suggests that the brain creates a “night watch” in order to protect the sleeper in a new environment. Like all things dreams and sleep, he goes on to acknowledge that there is more work to be done in fully understanding what’s going on whilst we are asleep. But for the most part, even if our nice hotel doesn’t guarantee us a good night’s sleep on the first night, at least we know our brain is still working hard to keep us safe if we do doze off.
Essentially, his study suggests that the brain creates a “night watch” in order to protect the sleeper in a new environment
Top tip: try to keep your routine at bedtime when you’re away to how it is at home. Then your brain isn’t dealing with too much change at once. Remember to make the hour before bedtime as relaxed as possible.