Dream your problems away
Tuesday 30 June 2009
Got a problem?
We’ve got the answer - Go to sleep!
Yep, that’s right! Sleeping on a problem really can help solve it.
A new study shows that a phase of sleep, Rapid Eye Movement (or REM), can boost you creative powers leading to problem-solving heaven!
Volunteers who had entered REM sleep – when most dreams occur – were better able to solve a new problem by lateral thinking.
The study at the University of California San Diego carried out tests on volunteers to trial their theory.
In the morning of the test day, 77 volunteers were given a series of creative problems to solve and were told to ponder over the problem until the afternoon, either by resting but staying awake or by taking a nap, which would be monitored closely by scientists.
Participants who had the most relaxing nap whilst in a REM phase upped their problem solving ability by a whopping 40 per cent!
Lead researcher Professor Sara Mednick said: "We found that, for creative problems you've already been working on, the passage of time is enough to find solutions.
"However for sleep problems, only REM sleep enhances creativity."
The researchers believe REM sleep allows the brain to form new nerve connections without the interference of other thought pathways that occur when we are awake or in non-dream-state sleep.
We must say, we quite like this new research. Want to solve a problem – go to sleep…. It’s like our dreams have come true! (Pardon the pun)
By Tasha Usefnia