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Sleep Inspires Insight


SleepInspires Insight

Thegeneral subject of the article is that of insight and how it isaffected by sleep. Insight, the reorganization that allows people toobtain knowledge is researched as to how it can be gained throughsleep. The acquired knowledge is subsequently used to change behaviorfor the better (Wagner, Gais, Haider, Verleger &amp Born, 2004).

Thehypothesis of the study was to investigate whether taskrepresentation in memory is influenced by sleep so that insight isgained. It was to be expressed in the realization of obviousknowledge of an undisclosed rule in stimulus-response sequence. Thetheoretical background of a study was based on Nobel Prize winnerLoewi and Mendeleyev who came up with the periodic table. Bothclaimed that they would get significant or crucial insights aftersleep or during dreams. Loewi claimed that he woke up with animportant idea for his theory of chemical neurotransmission, andMandeleyev recounted that his understanding of the important rule ofthe table came to him in a dream after trying unsuccessfully on thesymbols of the elements (Wagner, et.al, 2004).

Themethodology used encompasses quantitative research design because allsteps are predetermined. The study area was the University of Lubeck,and the research population was sixty-three healthy subjectsclassified into sleep and wake groups in the ages of 18-31 years inthe main experiment and forty people from the cluster of 20-32 yearsin a supplementary operation. The data collected was primary, anddata analysis was done by an adjusted variety of the “NumberReduction Task (NRT).” By continuously observing the subjects,their response behavior wise were used to find the particular pointwhen insight occurs, a point when explicit information of anundisclosed rule is acquired. The research was exploratory innature(Wagner, et.al, 2004).

Variablesto be measured in the study were sleep and insight. Respondents wererequested to change the arrangement of eight digits, through a stepprocess of doing it figure-by-figure to obtain a particular numberwhich is required. A hidden rule was implemented but not revealed tothe subjects, the point at which a subject became aware of this ruleis the insight point, and the experiment would be able to pinpointthe exact time the subject became aware of the hidden rule. After thesubjects had been trained, the experiments were carried out at shiftsof night-time sleep and nocturnal and daytime wakefulness. The testmeasured the time taken to achieve insight after sleep against thatobtained during periods of wakefulness (Wagner, et.al, 2004).

Thefindings were that sleep reviews mental representations obtainedduring periods of wakefulness to bring about insight into problems.In the group that slept, 59.1% subjects gained insight at retakingthe test as opposed to 22.7% in the group that stayed awake. For thesubjects that gained insight, the time of occurrence wassignificantly equal between the groups. The introduction of nocturnaland day conditions worked to exclude the probability of inferiorperformance due to lack of sleep and inconsistency in the circadianrhythm. So as to ensure that sleep influenced memory representation,subjects were tested the morning after sleep and in the evening afterstaying awake all day (Wagner, et.al, 2004).

Theauthors interpreted the findings by the use of a bar graph thatshowed the effects of sleeping and being awake on insight. It wasdependent on whether the subjects had slept during the night or wasawake during the day or night between training and retesting to showthat sleep maximizes the brain’s ability o remember and catalyzesmental shake up to bring about insight (Wagner, et.al, 2004).


Wagner,&nbspU.,Gais,&nbspS., Haider,&nbspH., Verleger,&nbspR., &amp Born,&nbspJ.(2004). Sleep inspires sinsight.