By the time you’ve struggled to the end of your eight-hour shift, cobbled together an evening meal to feed the ravaging hordes, rinsed the lettuce for the next day’s sandwiches, prised your reluctant offspring away from computer screens and tackled the dreaded washing basket, there aren’t too many hours left in the day.
For the hectic nature of modern living leaves us (in the oft-quoted words of poet William Henry Davies) with “no time to stand and stare”. It also leaves most of us struggling to fit our recommended sleep quotient into each frenetic 24-hour whirl of activity.
As a result, many of us probably aren’t getting enough sleep. Which is a shame, since recent studies show that sleep – in addition to being a panacea for many maladies – helps promote problem-solving abilities. And let’s face it: we need all the help we can get with solving life’s little problems!
Scientists found that volunteers who had entered a phase of sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement sleep) – the period during which people dream most – emerged better able to solve problems using lateral thinking.
Those who had reaped the benefits of REM were 40% better at creative problem-solving than those who had merely enjoyed a quiet rest or who had had non-REM sleep.
Researchers discovered that sleep and dreams influence the organisation and storage of memories, and indeed that memory consolidation is a prime function of sleep. They also ascertained that access to memory information is essential to problem solving, making sleep a valuable tool when we’re faced with problems.
So what’s a girl got to do, in this mad, mad world, to break free from the ever-decreasing circle that is her personal hamster wheel and get some quality sleep? Well, taking a relaxing weekend break is a good start.
With the power of the internet at your fingertips, in no time at all you could be basking in a haven of peace and tranquillity, enjoying a soothing massage or beauty treatment.
Getting away from it all for a weekend at a spa resort or health hydro will allow you to relax completely and recharge your batteries. As the stresses and strains of your everyday life begin to abate, you’ll find that you’ll almost certainly sleep more soundly too.
And after 48 hours far removed from the demands of your domestic environment, having been thoroughly pampered and well fed, you may well find that you’re sleeping like the proverbial lamb – instead of having to count sheep!
Two days of indulgent relaxation will give your system the chance to wind down completely, making it far easier to drift off and get a good night’s sleep. Which means that all those problems you’ve been pondering over may well solve themselves as you slumber. Sounds like a dream opportunity…