The study only offers a first glimpse into the brain’s activity when we’re sleeping for the first time in a sleep lab, hotel room, or the bed of a one-night stand. And according to Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a sleep specialist at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, the kind of a sleep Tamaki’s team measured slowly disappears with age, making it hard to extrapolate these results to everyone.
The research also offers only explanations — not solutions — to the first-night effect. And people will still feel just as groggy when they walk off a red-eye. But at least scientists can now pinpoint the network of neurons that’s partially to blame.