January 21, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Why You Need Sleep

A study in the Jan. 22 issue of Nature1 claims that sleep gives you inspiration.  Sleep is not just a waste of a third of your day; it helps consolidate memories, and provides pivotal insights.  “Insight denotes a mental restructuring that leads to a sudden gain of explicit knowledge allowing qualitatively changed behaviour,” the five researchers explain.  Human subjects trained in a new task uncovered a “hidden rule” after sleep, regardless of time of day.  Various aspects of their experiments led the team to conclude that “sleep, by restructuring new memory representations, facilitates extraction of explicit knowledge and insightful behaviour.”

1Wagner, Gais, Haider, Verleger and Born, “Sleep inspires insight,” Nature 427, 352 – 355 (22 January 2004); doi:10.1038/nature02223.

Don’t feel guilty about sleep.  Everything has its purpose, even letting your mind wander as your body goes limp in horizontal position once a day.  A lot is going on in that brain.  So now you have new justification for that power nap.  But sleep after the boss’s meeting, not during.  (Same rule applies to the Sunday sermon.)

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Categories: Human Body

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