Sleepy at Work?

How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Help with Problem Solving

Sometimes at work we are confronted with problems that seem intractable. The more we concentrate on trying to solve them, the more confounding they seem to become. We seem to get mired in place, and as a result, we get tired, frustrated and stressed.

If you find yourself in this position, there is a potential way out, one that does not require a lot of effort. When making a decision, people often say, “Let me sleep on it.” As it turns out, there is good reason for getting some sleep when you are facing an important decision. Scientific research has found that it really does help.

 
If you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep, you’re not at your best. The less sleep you get, the worse you do.
— Thomas Balkin, PhD, director of behavioral biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md
 

What Sleep Research Shows

Research has shown that people are better at solving problems after they have gotten some sleep. The reason for this may be what is known as the Incubation Effect. This theory states that the mind works better if it has time to rest. You may have experienced this if an idea comes to you suddenly during the night.

Psychologists are not really sure why this happens. They speculate that it could be because the mind is less distracted or that the subconscious is working on the problem.

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This location for a Powernap is not reccommeded by Trinity! 

But sleep is essential in problem solving for other reasons as well. Research has shown that during sleep, your mind is processing the information and experiences you gained during the day. Moreover, during sleep, your brain is working to store newly acquired information into your long-term memory.

When you enter the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep, your brain is also making connections between thoughts and ideas that you are not aware of when you are conscious, which can help in the problem-solving process.

Focused and Diffused States

 When you have had sleep problems, how would your workmates/family/friends describe you?

When you have had sleep problems, how would your workmates/family/friends describe you?

There is actually a lot going on when you are sleeping, even though it may not appear to be that way. Our mind has two gears – a focused state and a diffused state. The focused state is self explanatory – in this condition, you are actively concentrating on something. But what happens in this state is that you tend to get into a rut, to think along well traveled lines.

In the diffused state, however, when you are sleeping, your mind is more unfocused. It is in a more relaxed condition, a state more conducive to creativity and making new connections and associations, all of which helps in problem solving.

So, when you feel like you are spinning your wheels and the frustration is mounting, it may be time to take a break, to sleep on it, and to give your mind a chance to use its full potential for problem solving.

If you are trying to solve the problem of finding a job, Trinity Staffing can help. Trinity will work closely with you, giving you the personal attention you deserve to find the job that is right for you. Give Trinity a call today.