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Sleep And Your Brain

Sleep And Your Brain If you struggle with focus and concentration, it may be worth assessing how much sleep you’re getting every night and gaining an understanding of how sleep and your brain health are heavily linked. There’s a bit of a worldwide debate going on about how much sleep we need each night and there doesn’t appear to be a general rule of thumb. Some people survive on four hours a night, others can’t function on less than 8 hours a night. One thing that is certain though, is that chronic sleep deprivation is harmful to your brain – in fact it can have the same effects on your brain as aging does – namely, the part of your brain responsible for your memory – your hippocampus – starts to shrink. Scary much? [Read more…]

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How Sleep Can Lead To Creativity And Problem Solving

Did you know that Paul McCartney came up with the melody of Yesterday while he was in a dream? We all know how important sleep is for our brains to function properly, and indeed for the rest of our vital organs, but were you aware how sleep can lead to creativity and problem solving? According to this study at UCLA and UC San Diego, when we go into a state or REM, ideas and solutions can enter our minds, when we allow ourselves to drift out of focus, into the subconscious.  This is a fascination article from James Kinn for The Hornet.

How Sleep Can Lead To Creativity And Problem Solving

How Sleep Can Lead To Creativity

How Sleep Can Lead To Creativity

In a study conducted by investigators at UCLA and UC San Diego volunteers were asked to solve a puzzle known as the remote-association test (RAT). In a typical RAT question subjects were given three words and were asked to produce a fourth word that links to the three words that were previously given. The volunteers had to take the test twice between a forty-minute interval in which they were told to take a nap. The volunteers that hit REM while they slept improved by 40%, while the others who didn’t sleep watched as their scores dropped.

Deirdre Barrett a psychologist for Harvard University stated that, “In the sleep state, the brain thinks much more visually and intuitively.” The famous Beatle, Paul McCartney announced that he came up with the melody for “Yesterday” in a dream, and Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, is said to have invented the hole in the needle while she dreamt.

While we sleep the prefrontal cortex in our brain, which allows our brain to focus on one particular task, dials itself down as you fall asleep. This allows your thoughts to mix up at random. For example, when we are awake information travels from the left to the right side of our brain allowing the left brain to control and regulate what goes through the right. However, during REM there is no preferred direction, thus the creative right can overcome the literal left.

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So before you go to bed, remember how sleep can lead to creativity and problem-solving.  Take a note pad to bed and think about those ideas for which you need inspiration and problems you need solving so you can make note of them as soon as you wake. Or similar to the case of Paul McCartney, possibly a guitar or piano?  I think tonight I shall sleep on my piano.

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3 Ways To Improve Your Brain Power

Did you know that you can improve the plasticity of your brain with a few very simple exercises? (Plasticity in broad is about your brain’s ability to repair itself through the development of neurons.)  Here are 3 ways to improve your brain power that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

3 Ways To Improve Your Brain Power

Reduce Stress
Research suggests that chronic stress can actually shrink parts f the brain that are responsible for memory and can speed up aging of the brain. Reducing stress by learning how to unwind can improve your memory as well as improve your mood.

Get Some Sleep
It’s no big surprise that sleep is important. Now we know that it not only is essential for health and wellness, but for memory too. Studies have shown that people who stay up all night after learning a new task are less likely to recall it in the morning as those who sleep. While you probably don’t pull all-nighters anymore, loss of sleep can keep you from forming memories.

Do Something New
Get out of your mental rut. We tend to fall into patterns, daily routines that can stifle brain development. Why grow new brain cells an increase connections if you’re not doing any new activities? Expand your mind and challenge it to encourage neural growth.

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You’ll notice that reducing stress is at the top of these 3 ways to improve your brain power.  Stress is a main subject on this site because it is so important to reduce stress not only for your brain, but for your general health as well.  It’s also imperative that you get enough sleep in order for your brain to function correctly.  In addition to the above, exercise is key in maintaining a healthy brain, and  really helps you to focus as well.

 

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Sleep and focus!

Are you aware how important sleep is in maintaining an organised and healthy mind, among many other benefits? I called this post Sleep And Focus because without sufficient sleep, you will struggle to focus. Living in this 21st century is hectic and I think people often forget how imperative it is that we get a good night’s sleep. Felicity Duncan explains all.

Learning and memory

When you sleep, your brain does something called “memory consolidation”, which is basically similar to what a librarian does – it involves sorting through information, grouping it by subject, and filing it neatly away where it can easily be found later. Although the mechanics of how sleep helps learning and memory are not yet clear, what is clear is that people who are sleep-deprived can have a lot of trouble in these areas. A good night’s sleep makes you smarter.

Mood

As I can personally testify, sleep deprivation leads to testiness, gloominess, and general misanthropy. Studies show that people who didn’t get enough sleep the previous night are more irritable, impatient, moody, and unable to concentrate than their well-rested peers. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on personal relationships.

Not only do sleep and focus go well together, but your body as a whole requires a certain number of hours of sleep every night in order for various vital organs (like your heart and brain) and bodily processes to function correctly, such as your metabolism. Getting enough sleep will also be good for your immune system and fending off disease. It will also keep you safe so make sure you don’t deprive yourself of one of your body’s most basic needs!

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