A new study has explained why sleep is so much harder to come by if you’re in a new place – mostly because half of your brain isn’t actually asleep.
The ‘first night effect’ occurs when you are not used to the location you are sleeping and as a result, the left side of the brain doesn’t ‘switch off’ correctly. This phenomenon is well-known to Experimental Psychologists and researches who study sleep, and frequently, data from the first night of studying someone’s sleeping patterns is discarded. Masako Tamaki, of Brown University, conducted extensive research into this well-known phenomenon to understand why it was occurring.
Scanning the brains of 11 healthy volunteers , Tamaki tracked the slow waves of participants during sleep over two periods, a week apart. Slow wave are low-frequency patterns of brain activity which reflect how deep a sleep someone is in. The study found that during the first sleep, the activity of slow waves in the left hemisphere was much weaker, suggesting that the left side of the brain was more active than the right. On the second sleep, once the subject became more familiar with the surrounding, slow wave activity in the left hemisphere was much higher, matching the right.
The greater the slow wave activity in a brain, the quicker a person falls asleep. Biological Sciences applicants should consider how sleeping patterns are adaptive to different animal species, such as how some birds and marine mammals put half of their brain to sleep in order to stay vigilant.
- LNAT ‘So you want to go to Oxbridge’ Answers If you have been reading our book ‘So you want... Read more >
- TSA Oxford mini mock & answers Thinking is very important to Oxford, so they’ve devised an... Read more >
- Bursaries Both Oxford and Cambridge are committed to the principle that... Read more >
- Access and Financial Support at Oxbridge As two of the world’s top universities, both Oxford and... Read more >
- Science Puzzle: experimenting with mice… We asked our Medicine graduate Jennifer to tell us a... Read more >
- MAT overview If you’re applying for Maths or Computer Science at Oxford you will need... Read more >
- Maths & Hard Sciences: answer like a pro Maths, Physics, Chemistry – they’re brilliant because there is a right... Read more >
- Cambridge college snapshots Despite having a smaller number of colleges than Oxford, each of... Read more >
- UCAT mini mock paper & answers If you are applying for Medicine or Dentistry, many of... Read more >
- What You Need To Know About A Level Reforms The A Level system that has been in place since... Read more >
- The Most Competitive Subjects At Oxbridge (And How To Choose Wisely) Oxford and Cambridge are two of the best universities in the... Read more >
- Download an Economics Personal Statement “I have a keen interest in current affairs but have... Read more >
- Oxbridge: the global impact Concerning UK university admissions, UCAS have released some interesting stats.... Read more >
- Are my grades good enough for Oxbridge? Grades are an area of much misunderstanding when it comes... Read more >
- HAT mini mock paper The History Aptitude Test or ‘HAT’ must be sat by... Read more >
- Philosophy Reading List If you are interested in Philosophy, there are several options... Read more >
- Personal Statement Solution: Brainstorm Sheet Writing your personal statement may just be the grimmest part... Read more >
- What makes a good interview? The notion of an academic interview with prominent Oxbridge academics is a major... Read more >
- Economics & Logic Puzzle: ticket touts We asked top Economics blogger Resham Kotecha to challenge us... Read more >
- Cambridge’s Supplementary Application Questionnaire After you have submitted your UCAS application to apply to... Read more >
- Experimental Psychology & Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) Reading List If you are interested in Psychology, Oxford offers the Psychology... Read more >
- English Language and Literature Reading List If you're applying for English, have a look at our... Read more >
- University Admissions Tests: How Would You Reply? Here we have a few questions and answers to sample... Read more >
- Oxford college snapshots With 35 colleges and Permanent Private Halls, choosing how to... Read more >