Here's Why You Don't Sleep Well Away From Home

Can't get good zzz's in a hotel? A new study reveals why.

April 22, 2016
businesswoman sleeping hotel room
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Whether you're vacationing and bunking in a hotel or are the guest at a sleepover, there's something about sleeping away from your bed at home that makes the night's sleep just not right, and a new study explains why. 

Researchers from Brown University recently monitored the sleep of 35 healthy people and discovered why sleeping in a strange bed causes you to toss and turn all night long (and is exactly the reason why sleep scientists often discount the data from a sleep study participant's first night in the lab). 

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More: 50 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight

In the study, published in the journal Current Biology, researchers observed the brain waves of their participants. The two brain hemispheres showed stark differences. The left displayed signs of wakefulness while the right showed signs of sleep. It is this left side—the one that remained alert—that acted as a "night watch" patrolman during the sleep, leading to an unfulfilling snooze session. 

"The environment is so new to us, we might need a surveillance system so we can monitor the surroundings and we can detect anything unusual,"says Masako Tamaki, one of the study's author. 

More: The 5-Minute Yoga Sequence for Better Sleep

It's a habit that's often displayed in larger animals, the scientists noted. The left side of the brain remains vigilant and observant of the new surroundings while the right side snores away. But the imbalance between the two is why you wake up feeling much groggier and tired than after a night at home. 

Good news, homebodies: Now you have an excuse to head back home.