Daytime naps help us acquire information not consciously perceived.

on 29 October 2018
Power hypnosis brain learning

Hypnosis, the term coined by Dr James Braid, the father of modern hypnosis, was believed to be a sleep-like state and Hypnos is the Greek God of sleep, the name seemed like an appropriate, if not perfect nomenclature. But what did it mean, outside of its name . . .

It's the relaxation more than the nap itself!

Perhaps the most similar thing about hypnosis and sleep is brainwave activity. Scientific research has established Theta brainwave states as being prevalent during hypnotic states. As far as hypnosis is concerned, the most important aspect of theta activity is REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and NonREM2 (no eye movement) sleep. While dreaming is mostly viewed as a REM process, it does occur in NonREM2. Perhaps the best way to describe the difference in these dream states, is that the more outrageous/interesting dreams, be they exciting or terrifying, occur in REM sleep and the more boring/mundane occur in NonREM2. During these theta wave states, there are links to specific brain regions that are very involved in what we term humanness, e.g. the cingulate gyrus, insula gyrus and sensory processing area of the thalamus. These areas are also linked to amygdaloid areas, which are involved in the processing of emotional experiences/memories, positive and negative but most notably associated with our threat/fear detection systems. It is the links between these areas that create reality perception during the dream of falling or feelings of sexual arousal during erotic dreams. Another very important aspect of REM sleep is in the way it consolidates memory, the things you learned today, that you may need tomorrow and beyond. For the most part, the brain is very good at filtering out what you don't need and filtering in what you do, hypnosis and brainwave activity is the most effective method to enhance this process; napping comes a close second; I guess?

During the psychotherapeutic part of a hypnotherapy session, the client's issue is discussed and questions are asked, questions that I know the client is unlikely to know the answers to consciously, even though they very often answer them. The answer is the result of a very human response because we have to make sense of the question. "I don't know" is a very common conscious response. You may be wondering if you know they won't know the answer; why ask the question? The reason for this is, there is a subliminal intent in the question, in that I am aiming the question to the brain/mind in an oblique manner, the part of the brain (orbitofrontal cortex) that makes comparisons, reads between the lines etc. This is similar to when we see someone we know but cannot remember their name. Usually, we make a concerted effort to recall the name and if it persists in evading us, we say something like, “it’ll come to me later!” More often than not, that does happen; the name just pops into our minds.

So, in a conscious state, during the therapy session, subtle and (subliminally) intentioned comments, ideas and questions are placed in working memory. Then during hypnosis, facilitated by theta and PGO waves, the therapeutic intervention (somewhat aligned to the subtle/subliminal aspects) is introduced. My theory is that this facilitates a shift in the way the brain/mind processes (genetic expression) interpret the experience.

When we see things from a different perspective, we are inclined to react in a different way, i.e. behaviour changes.

Relative to this study, it is easy to view the hypnosis session as a brief nap but one with the potential to create deeper states and with the addition of an external source guiding and directing the process, essentially facilitating empowering mental states through PGO (Ponto, Geniculo, Occipital) waves and REM, NonRem sleep states!

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 too much stress, too little sleep and too little by way of clarity! So, to take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that 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 a 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 Bristol. Note: 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. <