Myths and Traditions Can Be Harmful To Your Brain.

In Brain Science, Memory and Learning, Sleep by Brainy Days Ahead

Myths among interior design students and professionals include that “the best design ideas only come in the middle of the night.” Researchers at Baylor University have found the opposite. Their study indicates that skimping on sleep, followed by later catching up on sleep, results in poorer cognition and reductions in attention and creativity in young adults. Researchers measured the sleep patterns through actigraphy, with students wearing wristbands somewhat resembling Fitbit devices to track movement. Students also kept daily diaries on the quantity and quality of their sleep. The researchers find that the greater the students’ variations from normal, regular sleep patterns, the worse their cognition declined across the week. Traditionally, interior design students restrict sleep during term projects, then catch up on sleep, and repeat. This sleep variability  pattern was followed by the students on major projects more often than for tests. Irregular sleep impairs the brain’s executive function, known as “working memory” used to focus on planning, making decisions, correcting errors and dealing with novelty. The study also found that erratic sleep patterns have a negative effect on creativity.  While the National Sleep Foundation recommends young adults sleep seven to nine hours every night, only one participant in the Baylor study slept seven hours or more nightly. Seventy-nine percent of the interior design students tested slept fewer than seven hours at least three nights during the week.