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‘Sleeping On It’ May Not Be Such a Good Idea

Tobyotter, Flickr.com

“Maybe I’ll sleep on it.” You’ve heard that, right? Maybe you’ve said it. Maybe you’ve done it. Well, depending on what “it” is, maybe you shouldn’t.

I love it when researchers get together, have coffee, and decide that there’s something we should or should not be doing. I suppose I shouldn’t make light of this practice, because, while I often scoff with what they come up with, sometimes I actually agree with them. This is one of those times. And I think it’s because it just makes sense. Plus, it involves sleep, which I find fascinating.

I’ve always thought it was amazing what your body does and does not do while you are asleep. I mean, it’s basic stuff with which we are all familiar, but it’s still wild. We can’t hear when we’re asleep. We walk and talk when we’re asleep. We dream outlandish, bizarre scenarios when we’re asleep. At the University of Massachusetts, scientists have learned through observing  100 or so test subjects that we should never go to sleep after experiencing something negative. After showing these folks some disturbing imagery, the researchers came back to them 12 hours later–after half of them had slept. These bad thoughts generated from viewing these images stayed with them and they were still somewhat unsettled. It seems the sleep locks in the memory. That is wild!

It got me to thinking, “Have I ever gone to bed mad?” And the answer is no. Maybe when you are dealing with people who won’t let something go, that’s what they did. They went to sleep harboring these bad feelings and they sort of marinated and spread through their system. Anyway, this is very cool and makes me wonder what else sleep researchers are going to discover. In my case, since I sometimes walk in my sleep, it could be a rearranged living room. “Funny, I don’t REMEMBER putting the recliner in the bathtub…”

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