Have you ever felt more tired when you did not sleep in your bed? It is very likely that if you remember an occasion when you did not sleep in the comfort of your home, you realize that you had a restless sleep, or that you got more tired. This has an explanation based on the activity of the hemispheres of the brain. Until now it was known that some animals were endowed with a defense mechanism by which they were able to sleep while part of their brain remained on alert. However, humans could also have this ability. This is what happens to your brain when you sleep away from home.
The brain at night
Many of us think that sleep is the period in which our body, including the brain, rests. The truth is that when we sleep our brain does not rest, or part of it. A study carried out by Harvard University revealed that the levels of the chemicals that provide energy to the cells remain stable during the day but increase during a moment of sleep when we sleep. This implies that instead of resting, The brain works to return to normal capacity, Providing an energy boost at the beginning of this process. As a consequence, it was concluded that, while it is true that our body rests – muscles, joints, etc. – some of the brain activity is kept using more energy.
The brain when we sleep outside the house
If you have ever slept in someone else’s house or in a hotel room, it is likely that the next day you have felt more tired. The truth is that you are not the only one who has had this sensation. An investigation that was published in the journal Current Biology Revealed a curious fact called by neuroscientists as“First night effect” (EFN). According to this research, EFN is the neurological equivalent to sleep with an open eye. In other words, it was revealed that people have the ability to activate the left hemisphere of the brain when we sleep in places that are not familiar or in which we do not feel comfortable. Therefore, people who travel or sleep at home frequently can have a less restful sleep by having a part of the brain awake.
These data were confirmed by the researchers by observing the sleep of a group of volunteers. During this process, the brain activity that took place during the NREM3 stage, which is characterized by a slow sleep wave, was measured. This stage is the last one that takes place during our rest. During this, our body is totally asleep and it is when it is more difficult to wake up. However, those who sleep out of the house Can see this altered sleep stage As the left hemisphere of the brain remains active. This causes the person to feel more tired the next day. Why? Its about Sleep period in which we recover more energy, and if it is altered our battery is not fully charged.
But this is not all, as we have explained, the hemisphere of the brain that remains alert is the left hemisphere, but why? In the first experiment, the researchers noticed that the volunteers had an increase in activity in the left hemisphere above the right. In addition, this was first night That the individual slept away from home. This fact confirmed that the left hemisphere remained alert to find itself in an unknown environment. However, the same did not happen when the same volunteers slept their second consecutive night in the same place. The differences between the activity of both hemispheres disappeared and both rested normally. This is what happens in our brain when we sleep out of the house and one of the reasons why you may feel tired after the first night. A good way to improve the quality of sleep is by resorting to medicinal plants to sleep.
Why does this happen
The researchers wondered why the left hemisphere was the one that stayed awake, instead of right. The explanation could be found in the fact that the neural connections between the part where the dream is produced and the rest of the brain are more powerful in the left hemisphere. It is therefore more useful for this hemisphere to remain awake during the first day of sleep in a strange place, since being the most powerful connections, will generate faster responses to stimuli perceived during sleep.
This process has to link regardless of whether we sleep in a comfortable mattress and in a pleasant place; The first night rests less. In fact, it is not necessary to feel uncomfortable in the place where you fall asleep for this process to occur in the brain. However, some scientists suggested that these effects could be reduced by traveling with the pillow itself.
We are not the only ones
This ability to stay partially awake is not unique to humans. This nocturnal activity of the left hemisphere to stay awake Is the result of an evolutionary process. Hundreds of years ago, sleeping in an unknown environment was a threat, which disappears when we sleep in a hotel or at an acquaintance’s house. Many animals are equipped with this defensive mechanism to remain alert to possible dangers. Dolphins, for example, rest alternating each part of their brain, which means that the right hemisphere sleeps first, while the left one rests, and vice versa.
This article is for information only, we have no power to prescribe medical treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to go to a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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