Sleep your way to solving problem

Sunday, November 10th, 2013 | In Knowledge | Tags: ,

Sleep your way to solving problem
~ Sleep your way to solving problem ~

Turns out the old adage “sleep on it” may actually have some merit, at least according to a new study from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Announced recently, the study tested whether sleep or time spent awake was best in finding a solution to difficult problems.

Researchers analyzed data from 27 men and 34 women who were asked to attempt verbal insight problems of varying degrees of difficulty, followed by a period of sleep, time spent awake or no time delay at all.

Then, the subjects were asked to reattempt previously unsolved problems. While researchers found no difference between the groups for the easier problems, the sleep group solved a greater number of difficult problems that did the others. The results were published online in the journal Memory & Cognition.

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.

The takeway: if you are stuck, get some sleep. Prior research from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has shown the positive benefits of sleep, or even short naps, when it comes to creative problem-solving.

Information via AFP-Relaxnews.


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