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What your brain is doing while you nap

Tuesday - 10/23/2012, 4:20am  ET

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Like to take naps? There's new research suggesting what brains are up to while their owners are snoozing.

The right side of the brain goes into overdrive while napping compared to its neighboring left hemisphere.

The team of neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center who made these findings speculate the brain is doing helpful housekeeping working to consolidate memories or classify data. Or they say, maybe the right brain is just daydreaming.

Studies monitoring brain activity show the brain's right side, which is associated with creativity, talks to itself while people nap. It also communicates with the left side, which is associated with logic, language and critical thinking. The left side of brain also talks to itself and its neighbor, but not nearly as much as the right side.

The brain side busyness is universal according to the study author who says the findings were not influenced by whether a person is left- or right-handed.

What the researchers don't know yet is whether one brain side being busier might benefit lefties more than right handed people.

The study was done by monitoring 15 volunteers while they slept. The research has been presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)