New Study Reveals The Effect Of ‘Sleeping On It’ On Decision-Making

Do you have a decision to make? Have you racked your brain ceaselessly but it all seem not to be taking a form? Are you at your wits’ end already? Good news is here! New research has revealed the way out and it simply is ‘sleep on it’!

It’s long been said that ‘sleeping on it‘ can help you make challenging decisions but now, a scientific experiment has confirmed the theory – having a snooze really can help you make clearer choices.

Researchers measured changes in the brains and reaction times of 16 participants before and after a brief nap. The results suggest a period of sleep may help weighing up pros and cons or gain insight before making a tough decision.

READ ALSO:What Could Go Wrong When Teenagers Get Less Than Six Hours Sleep A Night Is Scary For Any Parent

Bristol University scientists, who conducted the study, branded their findings ‘remarkable’.

All the participants aged between 20 & 91, were hooked up to an EEG to measure the electrical activity in their brains and they were asked to carry out 2 tasks for Dr Liz Coulthard and her team’s experiment.

In the first, they were asked to describe whether they thought a chain of words were either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. And in the second, volunteers were quizzed on whether they thought they saw a red or blue square dozens of times on a screen.

Participants practiced the tasks and then either stayed awake or took a 90-minute nap before repeating the same challenges.

READ ALSO:How Much Sleep Do Kids Need To Stay Healthy?

Reactions time were much quicker in the subjects who had slept – but only in the first task, which required more thought.

Participants who napped took 590ms, on average, to complete answers on the first task. In comparison, it took them 643ms before their sleep.

It could be deduced that the process of memory is strengthened during sleep and the study suggests information acquired during wakefulness may potentially be processed in some deeper, qualitative way during sleep.

Dr Coulthard said:

“The findings are remarkable in that they can occur in the absence of initial intentional, conscious awareness.”

READ ALSO:How Lack of Enough Sleep Affect a Child’s Behaviour


The benefits of having a nap during the day are similar to those experienced after consuming caffeine, according to a sleep expert.

Post-doctoral research fellow, from Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Flinders University, Dr Nicole Lovato postulated:

“Having a snooze instead of a coffee or tea would help you avoid the side effects of dependence on stimulants; including disrupted sleep at night time.”

Her research also found that those who regularly nap report feeling more alert after a brief nap in the afternoon when compared to those who only nap occasionally.

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