News Stories

How to Make the Right Decision

Sleep on it - Don't make a decision (like telling what you know about UFOs) until you sleep on it. People who sleep after processing and storing a memory carry out their intentions much better than people who try to execute their plan before getting to sleep.

Researchers have shown that sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future. And our ability to carry out our intentions is not so much a function of how firmly that intention has been embedded in our memories. Instead, the trigger that helps carry out our intentions is usually a place, situation or circumstance, such as some context encountered the next day, that sparks the recall of an intended action.

Psychologists call this the difference between "prospective memory" (things we intend to do) and "retrospective memory" (things we want to remember that have happened in the past). Prospective memory includes such things as remembering to take a medication, buy a Mother's Day card or bring home the ice cream for a birthday party, and these are the kinds of memory problems that most of us have. The good news is that prospective memory is helped by sleep. Psychologist Michael Scullin says, "We found that sleep benefits prospective memory by strengthening the weak associations in the brain."

They don't tell us if it helps even more if we dreamabout it (NOTE:Subscribers can still listen to this show).

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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