Naps and Dreams Boost Learning

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2006
Naps and Dreams Boost Learning
6
Thu, 04-22-2010 - 3:39pm
Scientists have long wondered why we sleep and why we dream. A new study provides evidence for some long-held notions that sleep and dreams boost learning and help us to make sense of the real world. Even naps can help, the researchers found.

Test subjects who dreamt about a challenging task performed it better than those who didn't have such dreams.

This newfound link between dreaming and learning gives insight into why humans bother to sleep at all. The study is thought to be the first to show "the relationship between dreaming and function in the outside world," said senior researcher Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School.

While dreams have always mystified mankind, scientists have been equally curious about sleep. "It is dangerous to go to sleep," Stickgold said, evolutionarily speaking. Unconscious beings lying flat on their backs are especially prone to attack, he pointed out.



So why have we evolved to spend a third of our lives sleeping?



Previous research has shown that sleep benefits the immune and endocrine systems, but it hasn't been clear that sleep per se is necessary. Resting quietly may be enough to meet these needs, Stickgold told LiveScience.



Sleep, however, might affect the brain in a way that no other state can equal, suggests the study published in the most recent issue of the journal Current Biology. The effect is likely critical for learning and making sense of life -- skills worth sleeping for, scientists think.

Read more of this fascinating article here:


Naps and Dreams Boost Learning, Study Finds






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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2006
Thu, 04-22-2010 - 3:42pm
And with that, I'm off to bed, hopefully to sleep the night through! (Although my track record lately hasn't been very good on that score, sadly.)




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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Fri, 04-23-2010 - 6:39pm
This helped me think of sleep more as nourishment for the brain rather than merely as rest for the body. If dreams are how we work out problems, though, I must have problems I'm not consciously aware of, because I have some mighty weird dreams. And most of the time, I don't remember my dreams. Does that mean I'm not going to be able to solve any problems, I wonder?




bunsofclay


Community Leader of Women's Health



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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Fri, 04-23-2010 - 6:40pm
I hope you slept well, learned a lot, and are doing so again right now, lol!




bunsofclay


Community Leader of Women's Health



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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2006
Sat, 04-24-2010 - 7:33am
LOL! I'm not sure how much I've learned this week, or what problems I have solved (none, I think), because it's been one of the worst weeks for sleep for me in a long time.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2006
Sun, 04-25-2010 - 2:41pm
Speaking of dreams -- we were speaking of them, weren't we? -- last night I dreamt I had taken a bus to Australia and had to catch the return bus home. Of couse, given the geographical implications, it suggests I have a problem with Switzerland and have displaced it with Australia. Or something, I guess. lol

I love dreams, they are so wild and wonderful.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Tue, 04-27-2010 - 2:39pm
I'm sorry to hear you didn't sleep well last week, and hope you are sleeping (and dreaming) more now. Maybe your somnial bus trip to Australia was a turning point, lol!


bunsofclay

Community Leader of Women's Health