Do you believe enough sleep makes you clever? In order to thoroughly answer the question, one must clarify two aspects.
Firstly, what do you feel is enough sleep? For many, 5 hours may appear to be sufficient. Consequently, that is what they teach themselves to cope with. Is barely coping mentally good enough for you? Yet others feel that more is better. They may prefer 7 to 9 hours of sleep. These are the people who take advantage of the fact that sleep makes you clever.
The sleep requirement chart by The Sleep Foundation gives guidelines based on scientific research. Firstly, toddlers should average 11 to 14 hours of sleep per night. Next, preschoolers require 10 to 13 hours. Ages six to thirteen need 9 to 11 hours every night. Teens need 8 to 10 hours and adults do best on 7 to 9. Adults over sixty-five, do well on 7 to 8 hours a night. However, modern adults average just over 6 hours every night. Moreover, teens at school average under 8 hours a night. Certainly not quite enough sleep to make them clever.
Secondly, what is your definition of clever? Usually, one refers to someone as clever when they speak knowledgeably about one or more subjects. Often one says a person is clever when they understand and retain what they study. Children who get great marks at school and university graduates may fall under your category of clever. In addition, successful business people may slot into the same category. In truth, financial success does take insight and intelligence. Being able to effectively solve problems where others struggle to do so, is what enables people to create empires. Wouldn’t it be great to solve problems while you slumber? What if sleeping more does enhance your intelligence?
To Sleep Perchance To Dream
You may be wondering how is it possible that sleep can increase your intelligence. Most likely, you do not see an image of a person sleeping when you think of the words clever or intelligent. Your image of a clever person may be of a researcher pouring over data. Alternatively, you may visualize a business magnate ruling her domain with absolute brilliance. Generally, in your mind’s eye you see a person who is solving problems. However, a surprise awaits as you read on and learn that sleep makes you clever.
Dreaming Enhances Brain Function
During sleep, the last thing you may expect is to be able to solve problems. However, problem solving may be one of the main objectives of dreaming. Apparently you can solve any problems while deeply asleep. Whether they include personal issues or business challenges, there is no difference. All require a certain amount of creative thinking.
Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard, states that dreams expand thinking. Dreams are particularly image-rich experiences and often make no logical sense. Dreaming is the answer, as solutions to tough scenarios require an approach that goes beyond logical day to day thinking. According to Barrett, in addition to resetting the mind, dreaming helps you solve problems. As she says, any current problem will be on your mind until you uncover a workable answer. Regardless of whether you are awake or asleep your mind works on finding a solution. She says that dreaming provides the opportunity. Apparently, dreaming while you sleep makes you clever at problem-solving.
Dreaming, Memory And Sleep Cycles
Interestingly, dreams occur during the REM stage of sleep. The Rapid Eye Movement stage fulfills various vital requirements of the brain. For one, the brain gets rest, since not all parts are active while dreaming.
Furthermore, the function of dreams has evolved. Dreaming has been in existence since the time of the first mammals. That is over 220 million years back. Since then, there is a high likelihood that evolution has brought upgrades to the function of REM sleep. So says Barrett, after observing the function of dreams in terms of cognitive thinking for over ten years. Her studies include many tests on students. During a study, she requested that her subjects read over a simple problem prior to sleep every night. Within a week most had dreamt about the problem. Moreover, 25 percent of the group had dreamt of the solution. Dreaming during sleep provides solutions to challenges, therefore sleep makes you clever.
Dreaming for problem solving is old news
Barrett’s research extends to historical literature and the details of daily life in the past. She finds that problem-solving in dreams was a common subject. Addressing issues using dream states to find solutions was the norm. People addressed mathematical, artistic and design challenges in the same manner. One common denominator was the need to visualize a solution for which the dreaming state is perfect. People utilized dreams for clarification on situations that required an unconventional approach. Specifically, dreaming occurs during rapid eyemovement sleep. Getting ample REM sleep makes you clever enough to find solutions to any challenge.
Sleep affects learning and memory retention
Research in days gone by
The knowledge that shut-eye and intelligence connect, goes back to research from 1924. John Jenkins and Karl Dallenbach state in their report that sleeping between periods of study enhances memory. In a test utilizing nonsense syllables, subjects learn better after a decent nap. Moreover, memory retention improved when adult subjects got more Slow Wave Sleep. The increase in memorization skills remained the same regardless of their ages. Getting more shut eye improves memory, revealing that sleep makes you clever.
Currently, Walker is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California. Furthermore, he co-authors studies on sleep and memory. Walker states that although previous research proves a night of deep rest enhances memory, sleeping after learning is as important. Feeling rested enough to absorb facts is as crucial as sleeping after study to enhance memory. Moreover, his research validates the fact. Subjects in memorization tests, who did not nap, under-performed. Those who took a 100 minute nap, performed twenty percent better. Moreover, the researchers implement some tests at the end of a full day. According to Walker, the results confirm the relationship between deep nightly slumbers and excellent memory. Proving, that napping and sleep makes you clever.
Furthermore, earlier research reveals that a 90 minute catnap post studying, promotes memory retention. However, Walker states Non-REM is the reason why a nap enhances learning. According to studies by his team, non-nappers are 20 percent behind in memory retention and learning abilities. The figures hold true regardless of the time of day the study runs. Sleep makes you clever because it reverses the effects on learning late in the day.
Professor Lisa Marshall from The University of Lubeck, says REM sleep during naps is higher in the morning. Conversely, for more SWS, take naps in the afternoon if you need to memorize a new batch of French words. Additionally, enhance memory further by playing the same music you use when studying, while you sleep. Clearly, sleep makes you clever.
Throw out the alarm!
Further research shows the development of problems with memory when people cut their sleep short. Waking before the body is ready, disrupts the work of the pre-frontal cortex in relation to memory and learning. Consequently, waking with an alarm decreases your ability to remember. Additionally, NREM sleep improves the ability to remember emotional experiences in greater detail. Sufficient NREM sleep is important if you want to remember precious moments clearly. Most people consider being able to remember the past well as a sign of intelligence. Sleep makes you clever plus you remember special times in more detail.
More research by Walker confirms that different stages of sleep enhance different types of memory. One study showed that learning to type is easier by 20 percent when sleeping between study sessions. Other motor skills such as learning to ride a bike or drive a car benefit to the same degree. Deep rest elevates your capacity to learn new motor skills. Consequently, sleep makes you clever.
Exactly how does sleep make you clever?
It is all very well knowing all the above facts. However, how does sleeping more enhance your cognitive abilities?
Don’t rehearse, just sleep!
During studies where research teams record brain activity during sleep, records show some interesting results. The specific nerve cells that fire during a day of learning, do the same while you sleep. During slow wave sleep fascinating processes take place. Memory replay of visual and audio learning fire simultaneously. Such coordinated replays, further consolidate neuron connectivity. Connections between the neurons relevant to each specific memory become stronger. These rehearsals ensure improvements in memory retention. Isn’t it great that sleep makes you clever?
Furthermore, each stage of sleep affects your neurotransmitters differently. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that carry messages or control cues. They travel between your nerve cells and all the other cells in your body. One such example is acetylcholine which keeps you awake. While you sleep, there is a decrease in this chemical to allow for sleep. Moreover, the decrease is enables the brain to move what you have learned. The memory transfers to a more dependable long-term compartment. Short term storage is unreliable, so the more you slumber the more you realise that sleep makes you clever.
Sadly, along with increasing age there is often cognitive decline. Yet, Dementia and Alzheimer’s are far more prevalent in the modern day. Moreover, this holds true for insomnia! Could it be that a lack of sleep is to blame? Scientists reveal that a decline in SWS is the cause of brain degeneration in the elderly. If you want to have a healthy brain, get more sleep as you age, not less. Science shows that sleep makes you clever.
Sleep is the most powerful cognitive enhancer
Many people make use of damaging substances like coffee. They have the false belief that caffeine enhances performance. The truth is that caffeine enhances performance only where there is sleep deprivation. Only more sleep can make you clever, not caffeine! Attempting to replace the natural restorative powers of sleep becomes problematic. Natural rest is free and healthy. Deep nightly slumbers have no side effects except that sleep makes you clever. Moreover, sleep is the most effective cognitive enhancer.