Do you want to do better in your classes and come up with clever solutions to common problems?
Would you like to be calmer when someone crosses the line?
Can you do this in the privacy of your own home? For free? Yes, you can.
After tinkering with our brains for millions of years, nature has developed just such a process.
During this mysterious process, billions of your brain cells oscillate together in rhythms, some slow and some fast. Multiple layers of the brain obey the beat of a deep-seated conductor, the whole working to achieve a smarter, more serene you.
This magical orchestration allows different neural circuits to reset themselves, lay down new, stronger cables, to splice and prune neuronal networks, and lay pathways for speedy thought.
What is this mysterious and miraculous process called?
Sleep. Natural, non-drug enhanced, luxuriously languorous sleep.
Do you know that birds rehearse their songs as they sleep? Nightly, little finches silently replay bird songs over and over again — polishing their daily warbles until it is deemed up to snuff!
So too, do humans. Violinists practice the violin as they sleep and dancers glide on ghostly feet. Surfer dudes ride the big wave out safely in sleep, infinitesimally moving a muscle here and there to make the next day’s surfing better.
Jack Nicklaus went through a rough patch of golf until he dreamt of holding the club a little differently and voila! Problem solved.
And some of us will continue to play Tetris or troll Facebook in our sleep, if that is mostly what we do when awake.
More: Learn While Sleeping
How do scientists know this? Because they have measured activity in different nerve cells while our finch is singing and while she’s sleeping.
They wake up student volunteers who spent all day playing Tetris just as they start dreaming. Et cetera. You get the point. So we have it on good evidence that sleep is important for laying down the days’ memories, for forming habits and for learning in general.
Learn How to Sleep Like a Lion
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Gayatri Devi, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine, is the Director of New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services. Dr. Devi is a board certified neurologist who has additional board certifications in the areas of Pain Medicine, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Neurology. She serves as an Attending Physician at Lenox Hill Hospital of New York City.
Dr. Devi completed her training at SUNY Downstate and after serving as Chief Resident of Neurology, she became a Fellow in Behavioral Neurology in the Department of Neurology at Columbia University. She was then Assistant Professor at SUNY Stony Brook and Director of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Dr. Devi has been an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Columbia University and Director of the Memory Disorders Center at the Center for Women’s Health at Columbia Presbyterian-Eastside.
Dr. Devi has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has presented papers at national meetings of the American Neurological Association, the American Neuropsychiatric Association and the North American Menopause Society. She has appeared in the media to discuss memory disorders, including the BBC, Reuters, FOX and ABC. She is President of the National Council on Women’s Health.