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Sound night's sleep helps take decisions

health and fitness Updated: Jun 23, 2011 19:58 IST
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Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have claimed that a good night’s sleep enhances complex cognitive skills necessary for decision-making.

They backed up the notion by checking it on a group of 54 young people who were made to play a Gambling Task, which is a card game. It assesses the frontal lobe function, where more emotional decisions originate.

It emerged that subjects who had a normal night’s sleep as part of the study drew from decks that gave them the greatest winnings four times more often than those who spent the 12-hour break awake.

SleepThose who took sufficient rest also better understood the underlying rules of the game.

Psychologists believe that rule discovery is an often hidden yet key factor that is crucial to making sound decisions.

The experiment also showed that the rested player cared about the wins and losses and more precisely, winning.

“There is something to be gained from taking a night to sleep on it when you’re facing an important decision,” the Daily Mail quoted Rebecca Spencer, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst as saying.

“We found that the fact that you slept makes your decisions better,” she added.

The team of researchers believed the sleep benefit in making decisions may be due to changes in underlying emotional or cognitive processes.

“Our guess is that this enhanced effect on decision-making is something that depends on rapid-eye-movement or REM sleep, which is the creative period of our sleep cycle,” Spencer added.

The study is published in the Journal of Sleep Research.