Did you get enough sleep last night? If not, you may be short circuiting your creativity. And, if you didn't sleep on a problem, you missed a golden opportunity.
Scientists at the University of Luebeck in Germany devised a simple numerical problem to test the ability of participants to recognize a new way of solving the problem. The interesting result was not just that sleep was important ... but that it was more than twice as effective to "sleep on" the problem.
People who tackled the problem in the evening and returned refreshed after eight hours' sleep were more than twice as likely to spot the shortcut as those who had stayed awake. Another group who tried the problem first in the morning, and then spent a normal eight hours of the day awake, were just as bad at spotting the trick as those who had stayed awake all night.
The researchers believe that the reason for the improved performance of the group that slept on the problem is that our brains restructure our memories as we are sleeping, in effect priming us for the solution when we awaken. Of course, "sleep has long been thought to improve creativity. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said the riff in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" came to him in his sleep, while the 19th-century chemist Dmitri Mendeleev literally dreamed up the periodic table of elements." states AP science writer, William McCall.
In case you're wondering why creativity is at such a premium, studies have shown that 70 million Americans are sleep-deprived. Maybe it's time for a nap-couch in every office ... for those 30-minute power naps.
Article with sample of the mathematical problem:
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