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Does the brain do more than regulate breathing while you sleep?

Posted Nov 30 2013 5:22pm

If I misplace something and search everywhere I can think of to no avail– then concentrate on that item right before I fall asleep–Voila! The next morning I remember where it is.

If I need to be awake at a certain hour but don’t have an alarm clock, I can concentrate on that hour before I go to sleep and I’ll wake up right on time.

My husband argues that it’s simple coincidenceBut I don’t agree. It happens too often to be a fluke of nature. And now there’s a study that backs my belief.

The brain is more aware than we think. 

A doctoral student at the University of Arizona, Jay Sanguinetti, worked with his adviser Mary Peterson, a professor of psychology and director of the UA’s Cognitive Science Program, and with John Allen, a UA Distinguished Professor of psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience, to monitor subjects’ brainwaves with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, while they viewed the photo of a darkened object with real-world hidden objects in the periphereal of the photo..

Their Brain saw the hidden objects that the students weren’t aware of

UA Study: Your Brain Sees Things You Don’t | UANews http://uanews.org

UA Study: Your Brain Sees Things You Don’t. By Shelley Littin, University Communications.  A new study by UA doctoral student Jay Sanguinetti indicates that our brains perceive objects in everyday life of which we are totally unaware of … 

That’s right! The brain sees things and recognizes hidden objects that we are never aware of.

Another example for me happened a couple years ago. Since I have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), I’ve been on supplemental oxygen for 2 years. As anyone who uses 02 at night can tell you, sleeping with a 50 foot tube, prongs in your nose and loops of tubing over each ear can be hazardous to your health.

The first two weeks were a nightmare. I awoke every fifteen minutes with either plastic tubing wrapped around my neck or the prongs for my nose tossed and hurled to the floor. It seemed an impossible task. Sleep was impossible, I spent too much time trying to breathe, too much time wrapping and untangling tubing. I woke up exhausted and tired every morning.

After a week or so I finally began to awake feeling rested and refreshed. The tubing neatly clasped in one hand, the prongs inserted correctly into my nose and lose tubing looped carefully over each ear.  I awoke in nearly the same position as when I’d dozed off. A pleasant surprise for cetain.

When I mentioned my blissful nights to a nurse at the hospital, she didn’t seem surprised at all.

She said, “Oh, it just takes your brain a couple nights to realize what you want. After waking you up to unwind the tube a couple times and readjust the cannula in your nose, your brain gets the message. Then it knows what to do and allows you to do it in your sleep. The brain no longer wakes you up for such mundane processes.”

Back then, I almost laughed out loud. But after reading this article, I think I was right all along.  I think the brain is aware of much more than we know– both when we’re asleep and awake.

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Your brain sees things you don’t
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