Day-time naps help us acquire information not consciously perceived

on 09 October 2018
Daytime naps are the same as hypnosis

While we may think we are conscious beings, consciousness forms a very small part of the world we live in and much of our life experience is in responding to things we were not consciously aware of . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A relaxing brain is an informative one!

The brain never stops processing, even while we are asleep it is highly active. In some sense, the world we are aware of is merely snippets of what is being processed below the surface. The way the brain processed information when we were younger has a lot to do with how we perceive the world we live in. Lots of our daily decision making is in fact done by areas of the brain that are responding non-consciously to sensory stimuli that elicit memories that then initiate behavioural responses. Another name for these responses is habits, anxiety is a kind of habitual response to false or ambiguous information.

So, this research goes some way towards explaining what goes on in hypnosis. Many of the issues that create difficulty in living a normal life are things we learned non-consciously. The brain creates some really weird behaviours, take a spider phobia for example. I have never had a client with this condition that did not know it was irrational, some even say it's stupid. They know they should not be frightened of a small spider but they are. Clearly, the brain has learned something related to spiders that are outside of our logical, rational and analytical control. Many of the other conditions people suffer from, follow this same illogical logic.

How does hypnosis fit into this then? Hypnos was the Greek God of sleep and a nap is a short sleep. Hypnosis, therapeutically, is akin to a short nap, but it can be very deep and even though short in nature, hypnosis has all the attributes that occur during sleep. It works by re-consolidating memories and, as a consequence, allows memories to play out in a different way. In this study, the participants remembered things they had no awareness of seeing. Their ability to see things they could not have seen, due to the timeframe being too short for conscious learning, is a consequence of memory formation, be it short term, long term or working memory.  By changing the perceptual memories, during hypnosis, the brain remembers the new instructions/suggestions that then change the way these other non-conscious memories express themselves! While we may be aware that we smoke, we may even think we know why but the reality is, we do not know the real reason we smoke. Even if the reason we cited was correct, it would be, at best, a lucky guess, such are the mysteries of the mind!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of dysregulation of the neurotransmission in and across the brain. Relaxation is one of life's most natural repair mechanisms and one that we, by and large, ignore. So it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating negative emotions and one that helps create calm relaxing states the make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to make your life feel better,  then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life!

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research: 

The age-old adage "I'll sleep on it" has proven to be scientifically sound advice, according to a new study that measured changes in people's brain activity and responses before and after a nap. The findings, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, support the advice which suggests that a period of sleep may help weighing up pros and cons or gain insight before making a challenging decision.

The Medical Research Council-funded study, led by University of Bristol researchers, aimed to understand whether a short period of sleep can help us process unconscious information and how this might affect behaviour and reaction time.

The findings further reveal the benefits of a short bout of sleep on cognitive brain function and found that even during short bouts of sleep we process information that we are not consciously aware of.

While previous evidence demonstrates that sleep helps problem-solving, resulting in enhanced cognition upon waking; it was not clear whether some form of the conscious mental process was required before or during sleep to aid problem-solving. In this study, researchers hid information by presenting it very briefly and "masking" it -- so it was never consciously perceived -- the masked prime task. The hidden information, however, was processed at a subliminal level within the brain and the extent to which it interferes with responses to consciously perceived information was measured.

Sixteen healthy participants across a range of ages were recruited to take part in an experiment. Participants carried out two tasks -- the masked prime task and a control task where participants simply responded when they saw a red or blue square on a screen. Participants practised the tasks and then either stayed awake or took a 90-minute nap before doing the tasks again.

Using an EEG, which records the electrical activity naturally produced in the brain, researchers measured the change in brain activity and response pre-and-post nap.

Sleep (but not wake) improved processing speed in the masked prime task -- but not in the control task -- suggesting sleep-specific improvements in processing of subconsciously presented primes.

The findings suggest that even a short bout of sleep may help improve our responses and process information. Therefore, the results here suggest a potentially sleep-dependent, task-specific enhancement of brain processing that could optimise human goal-directed behaviour.

Importantly, while it is already known that the process of acquiring knowledge and information recall, memory, is strengthened during sleep. This study suggests that information acquired during wakefulness may potentially be processed in some deeper, qualitative way during sleep

Dr Liz Coulthard, Consultant Senior Lecturer in Dementia Neurology at the University of Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences, said: "The findings are remarkable in that they can occur in the absence of initial intentional, conscious awareness, by the processing of implicitly presented cues beneath participants' conscious awareness.

"Further research in larger sample size is needed to compare if and how the findings differ between ages, and investigation of underlying neural mechanisms."

Paper: 'Nap-Mediated Benefit to Implicit Information ProcessingAcross Age Using an Affective Priming Paradigm' by E Coulthard et al in the Journal of Sleep Research [open access]

Story Source:

Materials provided by the University of BristolNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

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  • The University of Bristol. "Daytime naps help us acquire information not consciously perceived, study finds: 'I'll sleep on it' proves scientifically sound advice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2018. <>.