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Powering Down Our Brain

Why do we spend roughly 10 percent of our waking hours with our eyes closed, blinking far more often than is actually necessary to keep our eyeballs lubricated?

Scientists have found that the human brain uses that tiny moment of shut-eye to power down. The mental break can last anywhere from a split second to a few seconds before attention is fully restored, researchers from Japan’s Osaka University found. And in the brief break in attention, brain regions called the default mode network, collectively power up. This network is the brain’s idle setting. In times when our attention is not required by a cognitive task such as reading or speaking, this far-flung cluster of brain regions comes alive, and our thoughts wander freely.

Most of us take between 15 and 20 such moments of downtime per minute. It has been observed that most blinking takes place near the point of an implicit stop. While reading or listening to another person, this generally comes at the end of the sentence. Another highly intelligent way our nervous system knows how to balance itself. And receiving regular bodywork at Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto is one of the best ways to rebalance all systems in your body!