Monday, September 23, 2013

Sleep, The Problem Solver

Sleep, the problem solver
Research shows the old adage ‘sleep on it’ really is true. A new study from Lancaster University, published in Memory & Cognition, has found that sleeping on a problem really can help you to find a solution.
Remote information
The study tested whether sleep or time spent awake worked best in helping people find the solutions to a range of problem-solving tasks. Participants in the study - 27 men and 34 women - were asked to attempt easy and difficult verbal insight problems and, following a period of sleep, time spent wake, or no delay at all, to reattempt previously unsolved problems.
The sleep group solved a greater number of difficult problems than did the other groups. Co-author Professor Padraic Monaghan said: “We’ve known for years that sleep has a profound effect on our ability to be creative and find new solutions to problems. This study shows that this effect is greatest when the problems facing us are difficult. Sleep appears to help us solve problems by accessing information that is remote to the initial problem, that may not be initially brought to mind. Sleep has been proposed to ‘spread activation’ to the solution that is initially distant from our first attempts at the problem. So, if you’re stuck, leave a problem aside, and get some sleep if it’s a really difficult problem.”

Source : Nature and Health



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