Happy Tracks in the Snow

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Sleep on it… December 12, 2007

Filed under: parenting articles — paulabrown @ 10:06 am

I am fascinated by sleep (see post on facts about sleep). Maybe since I haven’t been getting enough but I love reading about sleep studies, hearing the differences in people’s ‘sleep hygiene’ as they call it and the unusual feeling when I’ve actually had enough of the stuff.

So here’s a top tip: when you’ve got a problem, a decision to make or some creative thing to do, sleep on it. The old adage is backed up by sleep research: when you take stuff in in the day, it goes into the short term memory, often jumbled and without much sense being made of it. When you sleep, bits of it are put in the longer term memory bits of the brain (getting technical here, are you keeping up?) and some are dumped. They think the process of dreaming might have a role in sorting out what to keep, maybe even playing the bits you don’t need to keep like film then dumping them).

For children this process can happen in their naps which is why very young children sleep so much as they need to take in small bits of information and then make sense of it (and why you shouldn’t force them to give up napping and accept if napping comes back again later on).

For adults it means that often the best thing to do when faced with some seemingly insurmountable problem or difficult decision is to make a warm drink and go to bed. In the morning creative solutions may well present themselves…

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