A Lie About Sleep.

Monday September 2, 2013

One of the best ways to stay on top is to get enough of the right kind of sleep. Sometimes this simple luxury can evade us. Our minds can lock onto a persistent thought like a bored puppy chewing its basket. The harder we try, the more elusive the rest becomes.

Years ago, I learned a lie about sleep that has helped me. The 'lie' was a mistaken observation on physiology. The proponent suggested that the left nostril oxygenated the right hemisphere of the brain, and the right air canal stimulated the left hemisphere. (Physiologists tell me this is nonsense.) The idea was that lying on your side would naturally restrict either the left or right air canal, and so drive activity to the opposite cerebral hemisphere. Since the right hemisphere used to be associated with imagination, the simple act of lying on your right side would occlude the right nostril, open up the left, which would then cross-over to stimulate the right hemisphere – giving you more imaginative dreams! Don't worry, there won't be a test, and it isn't true anyway, but it is useful.

Why is it useful? Well, because it works as a strategy. If you want to change your dreams, 8 times out of 10, just rolling over onto your other side will shift your thinking, your dreaming, and hence your sleeping pattern. If I have a troubling thought pattern, or a bad dream, I now have evidenced-based faith that changing my physical position will change my mental position.

The same works for daydreaming! If you're stuck in an unhelpful pattern of thought during the day, changing your physical position forces a neurological shift too. If you want to change your mind, change your posture! So, next time someone says, "What's your position on this?" you can smile and know that you can change your position on anything at any time!

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