How to Work and Sleep at the Same Time

An amazing result:

Many people have claimed that sleep has helped them solve a difficult problem, but empirical support for this assertion remains tentative. The current experiment tested whether manipulating information processing during sleep impacts problem incubation and solving. In memory studies, delivering learning-associated sound cues during sleep can reactivate memories. We therefore predicted that reactivating previously unsolved problems could help people solve them. In the evening, we presented 57 participants with puzzles, each arbitrarily associated with a different sound. While participants slept overnight, half of the sounds associated with the puzzles they had not solved were surreptitiously presented. The next morning, participants solved 31.7% of cued puzzles, compared with 20.5% of uncued puzzles (a 55% improvement). Moreover, cued-puzzle solving correlated with cued-puzzle memory. Overall, these results demonstrate that cuing puzzle information during sleep can facilitate solving, thus supporting sleep’s role in problem incubation and establishing a new technique to advance understanding of problem solving and sleep cognition.

Hat tip: Kevin Lewis.


Maybe if the President slept more and twitted less, he would not be a disloyal madman. I never thought I would ever vote for a Democrat, nut, by Golly, I will do whatever I can to displace and unseat Donald Trump. His anti-Brazilian and pro-India, pro-Russia, pro-Turkey policies are a shame. He is trashing America's standing in the world. He is a second George III. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. How can they support such a spineless, scrupleless idiot!? Will we allow foreign actors to manipulate our elections again?! Was this what the Founding Fathers meant?! Was this what brave Americans died for in Valley Forge, Iwo Jima and Fallujah?! Somehow, I don't think so!!!!

To be honest, I think trolling this minimizes the tragedy.

I think nothing can minimize this tragedy. Trump's regime created this tragedy far above our poor power to maximalize or minimize. October 10th is a date which will live in infamy.

Ruck up and save the Kurds, chicken hawk.

He's back.

Now wait just a minute. You "Einsteins" said "Trump's a crazed warmonger who will start a nuclear war or an Asian land war on a whim." Now, the hysterics about how "Trump's cruel and reckless in his rush to withdraw from Syria."

If President Trump was pro-Russia, he'd be doing what Obama did for eight years.

Those Americans died for nothing at Inchon, Chosin Reservoir, the Ia Drang, Khe Sahn, and a thousand other fights when the Democrats abandoned Korea in 1953 and Vietnam in 1975.

We, Americans, didn't abandon Korea. We rescued it from communist domination. There was no more reason to invade North Korea than there was to invade Poland in 1953.

We didn't abandon Vietnam. The truth is, the South Viethamese wouldn't fight. Their regime plundered all the money we sent. It was a disgrace. We should have got the Montagnard out of harm's way and oulled out as early as 1968.
The Kurds and the Brazilians are fighting. They fought for us. Now, we are supporting ISIS?! It is a natio al shame our country will never live down no matter how much you shills for autocracy try to spin the situation. Trump is no better than Judas or Cain.

As usual, everything you just typed is counter-factual.

No, it is not. We did everything in our power to save a regime the Vietnamese themselves hated. We wasted thousands of lives and lits of money to prop a lost cause. It was for us what Afeghanistan was for the Soviets.

We saved Korea. Not that the Koreans are capable of any gratitude.

The Kurds and the Brazilians are our allies. Yet, the madman-in-chief is favoring Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It is crazy!!!! It is the Oearl Harbor of our generation.

Almost everything you learned in Brazilian high school American History is bull shit.

The Obama Doctrine - America is evil and unjust and can remedy that only by fighting wars against its interests. See Bookworm Room blog.

The Trump Doctrine = In a war there must be a material benefit to the US. To this end, he’s withdrawing troops from Syria because America cannot endlessly police the internecine warfare that is endemic in the Muslim world. Bookworm Room blog

To wit, since WWII, the U.S. government has won no war. "More importantly, it has not sought to win wars. Instead, our foreign policy establishment killed some 100,000 Americans and wasted trillions of dollars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in pursuit of world order, multilateralism, or collective security. It has cited as a badge of superior wisdom its trashing of Aristotle’s notion that victory is war’s natural objective." See Angel Codavilla.

It don't mean nothing. I was Vietnam. My son fought in Afghanistan. We made it home.

You keep not being able to make South Vietnam to have fought or to make it so that we didn't save South Korea from communist conquest. We made South Korea possibe.

You still can not justify helping the Saudi-backed terrorists in Afghanistan. You certainly can't justify helping ISIS now.

You can't justify having a Russian mole in charge. You dertainly can't justify selling our allies out.

Who is this we? Did you women deploy to Korea the girl from Ipanema?

I blame Obama and his "Arab Spring" BS for getting several hundred thousand (too bad it wasn't several hundred million) killed in internecine ME insurrections and civil wars.

You funny, man. Pulling out 200 troops does not constitute helping ISIS.

The Kurds are not one, unified entity. There are several factions, not all friendly to the US.

In the real World, allies are defined by treaty. Turkey is a longstanding (more than 60 years) NATO ally. The Kurds are not our allies nor is Brazil. Who needs them, anyhow?

I really don't know what you mean. I am Mr. Johnson, from Iowa, a famous American state. I used to vote Republican, but I am outraged by the Trump's regime betrayals.

"The Kurds are not our allies nor is Brazil. Who needs them, anyhow?"

So that is it. We will reward Saudi Arabua and Turkey's terrorism and betray those who actually share our moral principles. I think America has never, in all its history, stooped so low. I really hope Congress do the right thing and impeach the orange madman. That is our times' Munich.

Thiag...I mean, Mr Johnson, you're hilarious.
"I am Mr. Johnson, from Iowa, a famous American state". No American would ever speak like that. {:^)

I enjoy your sense of humour. You remind me of Andy Kaufman sometimes. Keep it up!

The issue is, Mr. Butcher seems to be unaware of the existence of Americans and American states.

The jury is still out on "Thiago"s actual nationality. He might be Brazilian, but he could very well be American playing the character.

While I agree with Thad that he can be amusing, as another poster said he's obviously not mentally in balance. Either he has been carrying on the weirdest troll character for years and years (which is crazy) or this is an actual person actually believing his craziness (which is only a little crazier)

Hi Thiago. I don’t like Trump, but your shtick got old after your first 3 posts. Go do something better with your time you freaking shill. If your goal is to make people like Brazil and Bolsonaro more, you are achieving the opposite.

"I don't like Trump" is another way to minimize the tragedy.

Exacfly. I don't understand people who say they don't like Trump and then go shill for him.

One man's tragedy is another man's triumph.

I know no Thiago. I am Mr. Johnson from Iowa, an American state. I am just shocked and outraged by the crazy anti-Brazilian, anti-Kurdish betrayal the Turkish-Russian mole is implementing. Maybe you don't care about America's standing in the world, but I do. When I was young, America was respected. Our word used to be our bond. It is sad to live now under the orange madman.

anonymous/bear/mouse changed his name again.

Now he’s xyzzy. Adjust expectations of cogency accordingly.

Thanks for the warning.

This is actually correct. Countdown until this handle is impersonated and abandoned.

But isn't it interesting, and tragic, that I can be identified because I don't think a blithe "I don't like Trump" is fulfilment of civic or moral responsibility.

"Like," like that's all there is.

Yes we know the drill. No enemies to the left. Anyone less outraged is an enemy.

Even if they’re Thiago doing a bit.

How sad. You don't even know how to engage. I mean assuming "Yes" is the same poster as "Well" or "Nice try."

What you want to do, if you aren't a partisan shill, is name a more active and pressing concern coming from "enemies to the left" than this administration in general, and the Syrian tragedy specifically.

Nope, you’re wrong again it’s either 2 or 3 different people calling out the trolls. We are all waiting with baited breath how you will manage to connect a sleep study paper to The POTUS.

So keep having conversations with the latest Thiago character performance art piece and then engage in your performative faux outrage at the latest from your twitter feed.

Your worst sin is not that you’re a troll. It’s that your a boring one.

And you sir, have a damaged soul.

You are setting what you hope to achieve in this forum above what the United States should hope to achieve in the world.

An on topic discussion of an interesting sleep study paper that helps to confirm widely held experiences within the population?

Sure, I guess.

I commented on comments, exactly as you are doing now.

Do you have any actual thoughts about the sleep study? Or did you come here specifically to derail?

And if you’re stupid enough to fall for Thiago’s act you probably don’t have anything to add.

Change that to definitely don’t have anything to add.

According to my fitness band, I slept 9h33m last night, with 2h30m deep sleep.

Maybe that's enough sleep for me to put things in proper perspective.

Sleep studies are not the most important thing happening in America today, and while Basil Johnson's opening comment was over the top, it contains truths all of us should be mature enough and objective enough to admit.

Basil Johnson attacked the most important problem in America today. Literally.

If you’re dumb enough to fall for Thiago, it explains much of your comment history.

To wit, I've done some of my best work in bed. Then, smoked a cigarette and fell asleep.

I can vouch for this.

In the experiment, cues were delivered overnight to help people solve problems. How can this result be used to help people solve problems in real life?

Seems straightforward - review the unsolved problem before bed with the audio cue playing. Set the cue to play in three hours, then go to sleep. In the morning, wake up and solve the problem with improved probability.

I'm surprised this is a question. Haven't we all awoke in the middle of the night with problem solved? I keep a notebook by the bed so I can write things down, otherwise I won't be able to get back to sleep.

I don't normally try to do it on command, but I have. And to be honest, it happens in the shower or while shaving or while driving home from work, too, but most often ideas wake me around 4 am. YMMV

Surely enough people have reported the same phenomena for this to seem credible.

Absolutely. Study up on your situation and around 5 AM the next morning you know just what to do and jump out of bed to get it done, Shaving and showering are good too, as is walking the dog.

I keep a notepad and pencil next to bed, but never solved anything.

Sometimes I'm reminded of something I have to do, and I write that down.

Sometimes I think I've come up with a brilliant solution or idea, and write that down, but in the light of day they've never seemed so brilliant. In fact, they are often dumb.

The main effect is that after I write these things down I can sleep peacefully, knowing they will be remembered in the morning.

It seemed to work out for Samuel Coleridge with his dream-inspired Kubla Khan.

Makes sense. While awake, we are hit with so many stimuli that it's a great challenge to focus the mind, whereas while asleep, the mind as well as the body comes to rest, thus making it easier to focus the mind on one thing (even if not aware of it). Ever since Cowen's blog post about universal salvation, I have been obsessed with the idea of pre-existing souls. Wouldn't one come closer to one's pre-existing soul while asleep?

But will it replicate?

Fairly small sample and small-ish effect... I suspect too that it will not replicate.

Presumably the universe of puzzles under study will vary the results immensely. Try ruminating in your sleep over "why can't a woman be more like a man?"

Now employers have only to figure out how to frame their demands that workers devote x minutes each night (REM sleep? non-REM sleep? periods or sequences of each?) to solving the problems left on the desks to which they were not permitted to telecommute.

On another hand, though: haven't we done enough already to encourage and facilitate American somnambulism? (Don't answer now--sleep on it first.)

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,

My God, I've just solved the problem I was thinking about when I fell asleep?

Lately I've begun using the music I often use as white noise to help me sleep as background music for reading academic papers. (Tracks from a Steven Halpern CD, usually.)

Or you let your neural network train overnight

I am a bit skeptical. I tried explaining this to my former employer between my morning and afternoon naps, but they weren’t convinced.

So I'm taking it the way to operationalize this would be something like the following:

1. Work on some problem, have some sound playing in the background (say a recording of a distant train whistle that goes off every few minutes?).

2. Problem not solved? Go to sleep but get Seri, Alexa, Google or whatever have that sound play randomly during the night.

2.5 Possible better, if you have a smart watch that can figure out when you enter REM state (or are likely too), have the sound play then. That would trigger you to dream about working on the problem and possibly make progress?

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