To Reach Your Brain Potential, Fulfill Your Night to Night Sleep Needs
Do you want to build lifestyle habits that maintain a high level of inspiration and productivity for your work goals?
In managing your schedule, sleep should not be left out of the equation.
More than just providing a welcome rest for your brain to recharge its energy, it preserves the essential inputs of your waking life.
According to Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep, without a proper night of sleep, you prevent your brain from assimilating knowledge and skills you gain during the day.
The states of REM and NREM sleep have different ways to grow our brain connections. By learning to differentiate them, you’ll be able to create sleep habits tailored to your goals.
So, here are 4 experiments from the neuroscience of sleep to help you find new lights during the night.
Restoring Effectively Your Detailed Memory
When neuroscientists studied the human sleep cycle, they realized that it was made of two different patterns.
First, the brain enters a silent, sleepy harmony, gathering its thoughts in a state of complete stillness.
Secondly, the brain becomes agitated in a paradoxical state, being active while remaining paralyzed in his sleep- apart from his eyes which operate a fast movement.
That’s why the second phase of sleep is called REM (Rapid Eye Movements), while the first is called NREM (No Rapid Eyes Movement).
What scientists have especially noticed is that these two phases are repeated. Deep NREM sleeps operate mostly early and is eventually reduced later.
Yet, this early stage of sleep is crucial for the restoration of your brain. Notably for enabling accurate and declarative memory.
Matthew Walker and his team discovered the role of NREM by setting up a specific experiment. Several participants were asked to retain information and were subjected to varying degrees of NREM Sleep.
What scientists found is that the more NREM Sleep the participant experienced, the more they were able to form a solid and reliable memory of the information they had learned the previous day.
Therefore, to learn quickly and effectively, try not to neglect the sleep that occurs early in the night but also during afternoon naps. Your memory will be much clearer and effective the next morning.
Strengthening The Positive Effects of Your Practice
These benefits of NREM Sleep are also present in training and learning artistic and athletic practices.
Many musicians know the ease of playing a piece with perfection the next morning, whereas the day before they were frustrated training it.
To attest this feeling, neuroscientists have tested the performance of pianists learning a piece for 20 hours based on whether they were interrupted or not by an 8-hour sleep.
The results were straightforward. Those who had the opportunity to sleep before the test, performed the piece with more speed and ease, while those who practiced all day continuously did not get the same boost.
So scientists linked this inspiration boost to the NREM sleep phase, which process the motor skills acquired during the day before.
When deeply sleeping, the brain incorporates the connections it has created during wakeful exercises. These benefits of sleep are so essential to training that they are worth as much as the benefits of practice itself.
In a way, this sleep is the real driver of improvement in your practices.
Based on these facts, you may keep the last two hours of sleep in the morning, the ones that allow you to significantly strengthen the progression in your artistic and creative practices. You will be surprised at the progress you will make in your work.
Refining Your Emotional Attention
Dreams of the sleeping brain have always fueled fascination, often leading us to wonder why they even exist.
When the brain starts dreaming at night, visual and motor images express themselves and spread in the head of the sleeper without any movement of his part.
But these REM sleep states have a lot of power to reveal in terms of reconditioning the brain’s connections.
Studies tend to show that they operate as an update of our abilities to observe and notice emotional details in people’s faces and our environment.
Matthew Walker’s team has been testing participants for emotional intelligence after they have been in and out of REM sleep stages. They had to quickly recognize the emotions of the faces that were passing in front of them.
It turned out that the better the quality of REM sleep, the better they were able to locate and translate emotional cues from the social world. Conversely, the lack of REM sleep resulted in difficulty understanding these signals, over-interpreting them, and exhibiting high excitability.
The role of this phase of sleep is to renew the empathy and mind-reading skills essential for experiencing and managing emotions in a relevant way.
Don’t be surprised when anxious and unease after a bad night of sleep. It’s okay, you just need to take a nap and sleep better the next night.
Boosting Your Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
The greatest power of REM sleep remains the empowered ability to imagine unexpected associations and make new connections.
Your brain, while dreaming, is in a state where it lets normally distant neural networks exchange information. In this, it boosts its ability to come up with singular ideas.
But how do we know what’s going on in this boiling dream brain?
Scientists have tried to unravel its mystery by employing ingenious experimentation. To understand how the brain thinks under REM, they woke up participants during dream phases and asked them to solve previously explained anagrams and puzzles.
Neuroscientists found that the solutions proposed by participants in REM sleep were far more ingenious than those in the waking state, and resulted from spontaneous thinking. These people, still in a state of restless sleep, retained an ability to make immediate associations between different data and memories.
Their brains were going through instantaneous connections and inferences, having no more limits in the way they could consider chains of associations indefinitely.
These processes operate in each person for entire nights and unblock the dead ends of your daytime thinking to lead you to new illuminations. Don’t underestimate the power of dreams on your problem-solving skills!
If you want to exploit the potential of your brain, the conclusion is now to take care of your sleep habits!