Navigation Links
Sleep Might Help You Solve Problems Better

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Got a big decision to make and thinking about sleeping on it?

A new study suggests that might be a good idea; it found that people did a better job of learning a game when they got some shut-eye afterward.

The research doesn't prove that sleep will help you learn more effectively. But it does provide more evidence that your brain doesn't just rest and dream when you're asleep, said study co-author Rebecca Spencer, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The brain appears to also be reviewing the day's events and processing them, she said. "You put the movie in and you replay it. This says sleep is really adding something, that we shouldn't go with our gut instinct. We should sleep on it," she said.

It may seem obvious that people would perform a task better after getting some sleep. But Spencer said the new study is unique because it looks at people who had a brief chance to learn something and then either slept or stayed awake.

Other sleep research has focused on memory and on what happens when people don't get enough sleep. "Everything falls to pieces when you've been sleep-deprived," she said.

In the study, researchers assigned 54 college students (aged 18-23) to one of two groups. One learned a gambling game in the morning, while the other learned it in the evening, although no one was allowed to learn the trick to beating the game. Then they came back 12 hours later to play the game.

Those who had a chance to get a full night's sleep after learning the game did a better job of figuring out the trick to it. Eighty percent of those who slept figured out the trick to the game, while 40 percent of those who stayed awake did, Spencer said.

The researchers assigned the game to other groups of students and found that the time of day when they played it didn't affect their performance, boosting the case that sleep was a crucial factor for the first two groups.

What's going on? The brain appears to process what it's learned during sleep, Spencer said. "It's filing it away. And when you file things, you're not just putting them in the file drawer. You're putting them in a real organized fashion, you're filing it next to things."

Sleep researcher Michael P. Stryker, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco, said the study does have an important limitation: "Is the difference really a gain in performance after sleep because of some kind of 'insight' or 'problem-solving' that happens during sleep, or is it that being awake for 12 hours makes you less able to perform the task?"

Sleep researcher Michael Anch, an associate professor at Saint Louis University, said the study "emphasizes the growing awareness of the importance of sleep for optimal cognitive functioning."

"This study is consistent with other studies suggesting that sleep allows you to integrate learned information from various brain regions, which is not allowable by instant decisions," Anch said. "This gives credence to the notion that if you have a decision to make, sleep on it!"

The study appears in the current online issue of the Journal of Sleep Research.

More information

For more about sleep, see the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Rebecca M.C. Spencer, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Michael Anch, Ph.D., associate professor, psychology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.; Michael P. Stryker, Ph.D., professor, physiology, University of California at San Francisco; Journal of Sleep Research, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Kids May Have Genetic Cause
2. Sleep HealthCenters to Sponsor North East Sleep Society 2010
3. America's Hidden Pandemic: 100 Million Suffer From Sleep Problems
4. Solutions for Sleep Problems: Harvard's Improving Sleep Special Health Report and New Sleep Apnea Video
5. Behavioral therapy improves sleep and lives of patients with pain
6. Sleep problems and sleepiness increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents
7. Severe sleep apnea decreases frequency of nightmare recall
8. Severe Sleep Apnea Has Silver Lining
9. The role of sleep in brain development
10. Sleep More, Lose Weight – Sleeplessness Linked to Obesity
11. National Sleep Awareness Week(R) (March 7-13): How Are You Sleeping?
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Sleep Might Help You Solve Problems Better
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking ... American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical ... effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has dedicated ... has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The procedure ... doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... awareness about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... for individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of ... Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and ... other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at its ... Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete system ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016 Any dentist ... many challenges of the current process. Many of them do ... of the technical difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And ... to offer it at such a high cost that the ... it. Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... up to date financial data derived from varied research sources ... with potential impact on the market during the next five ... comprises of sub markets, regional and country level analysis. The ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: