Perhaps “Sleep to Dream” - and create
By Herb Drill
Are you familiar with the country music group known as “Asleep at the Wheel”
? Does that name bring to mind lots of 18-wheeler drivers crashing into innocent drivers who are part of other families?
Does it make you think of the major auditing firms who were napping while companies like Parmalat milked the books?
The Philadelphia Inquirer carried a story of a study disclosing that sleep does help with creativity. How’s that for a juxtaposition? Would you believe Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said the riff in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" came to him in his sleep?
A bed and satisfaction - can you fantasize something better?
The article relates how experts say our sleeping brains continue working on problems which baffle us during the day. It seems researchers have proven what creative minds have known all along: our “sleeping” brains work out problems which baffled us during the day and that the right answer may result easily after eight hours of rest.
It certainly beats trying to understand a balance sheet when your eyes are half closed.
The German study is considered to be the first hard evidence of the common sense notion that creativity and problem-solving appear to be linked directly to adequate rest. Some researchers believe the study yields a valuable reminder for overtired workers who are increasing productivity - and incompetence. The same goes for students that sleep is often the best medicine.
Physician -.especially medical students - heal thyself?
The Inquirer had this quote: “A single study never settles an issue once and for all, but I would say this study does advance the field significantly," said Carl E. Hunt, a physician and director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health.
"It's going to have potentially important results for children for school performance and for adults for work performance."
The study’s researchers, scientists at the University of Luebeck, found volunteers who had gotten eight hours of sleep were three times more likely than sleep-deprived participants to figure out a hidden rule for converting numbers into the right answer on a simple math test. The findings appear in the journal Nature. Jan Born, who led the study, said the results supported biochemical studies of the brain which disclosed memories are restructured before they’re stored. Also, creativity appears to be enhanced in the process, he said, adding, "This restructuring might be occurring in such a way that the
problem is easier to solve."
Born said the exact process for sharpening these abilities remained unclear, but it appears memories begin deep in an area of the brain called the hippocampus and are pushed outward eventually to the neocortex to be consolidated. The changes leading to creativity or problem-solving insight occur during "slow wave" or deep sleep, which occurs typically in the first four hours of the sleep cycle, he said.
The findings may explain memory problems associated with aging (now I know why), because older people typically have trouble getting enough sleep, especially the kind of deep sleep needed to process memories, Born said.
It’s reported that 70 million Americans are believed to be sleep-deprived, contributing to accidents, health problems, and lower test scores. Meanwhile, history is rife with examples of artists and scientists who have awakened to make their most notable contributions.
I’ll continue to keep a notebook and pen on the night table, consider all of this - and sleep on it.