Why do we sleep? Although science has yet to explain the reason we spend one-third of our lives in this bizarre state, an exciting theory suggests that sleep can solidify newly learned memories by rewiring the architecture of brain.
Emerging neuroscience evidence also indicates that sleep can intelligently associate and integrate new memories together, performing a kind of "sleep-dependent alchemy." This phenomenon may fuel creative human insights, often reflected in dream content.
In addition to memory benefits, recent findings also suggest that sleep can "refresh" emotional brain reactivity, smoothing away the rough edges from our prior waking concerns, thereby allowing rational next-day decisions.
Thinking about skimping on your Zs? You'd better tune in to hear what UC Berkeley's Matt Walker has to say about it first!
Matt Walker is a Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of California Berkeley.
Natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored. Humans normally sleep at night, whereas nocturnal species sleep during the day. The average human sleep requirement is about 7.5 hours. Sleep is divided into two main types, REM (rapid-eye-movement) and NREM (non-REM); each recurs cyclically several times during a normal period of sleep. REM sleep is characterized by increased neuronal activity of the forebrain and midbrain, by depressed muscle tone, and by dreaming (seedream), rapid eye movements, and vascular congestion of the sex organs. NREM sleep is divided into four stages, the last of which is the deep, restorative, quiet sleep commonly associated with a good night's rest. See alsoinsomnia, narcolepsy.
I really enjoyed this talk! I had no idea that the brain desires certain types of sleep at particular hours throughout the day. Very illuminative. But also a bummer that as we age we lose our ability for deep sleep.. which from what I understand, is when we store memories of what we've learned throughout the day. Before I realized that, I was anxious to try and get to bed earlier, but now I'm wondering what the point is (since I'm 47). Oh well. Such is life. Guess we should all just be happy when we age past 35yrs old. ;-)
One of the most engaging and thought-provoking talks I've viewed on FORA.tv (kudos to the live audience for asking so many penetrating questions). The data are very compelling, but I wonder to what degree sleeping in a lab setting (much less inside a fMRI tube) skews the results? My sleep always feels qualitatively different when I'm in a strange environment, even if it's only a hotel room...
J.Krishnamurti in fact says that art and science are produced out of conflict.
Getting a dreamless sleep and solving problems though are not so contradictory.
A mind full of conflict -- personal and otherwise -- is not going to have the clarity to resolve whatever new problem (i.e. conflict) presents itself to challenge the mind. Resolving the problem ends the conflict.
The meditation he recommends is not a technique like Buddhist mindfulness which he considers contributes to mental conflict. Like most meditation techniques mindfulness creates conflict by moving attention to an object in this case the breath. One set to thoughts is telling another set what to do.
Krishnamurtis talked about "choice-less awareness" where you just observe the mind. The mind then naturally settles down.