Planning what we feed our brains

Inspired by my very smart niece, Ilana.
I’m no expert on how the brain works, but I do find it fascinating to understand snippets of how I can optimise this fantastic super computer tuned for *real* (as opposed to artificial) intelligence, that we all always carry around with us.

Yesterday my niece told me about the early evidence and research in progress of how the brain process facts and data from short term memory to medium term memory to long term memory.

From my limited understanding, I’ve translated it to a field I know a bit more of: Just like computers (or the cloud), the brain also have various kinds of memory, some faster but more scarce, other slower and in greater supply. Data pipelines would process some of the streams of incoming data, and keep relevant info, discarding noise. And eventually data scientists and analysts would process the data to find insights, or train new machine learning models.

In the human brain, I imagine, similar processing happens: The stream of sensory data flooding into my brain is used to construct concepts like ice-cream and sunshine, recognising the people I love and dangers, but some of the data is discarded, and other pieces that form my thinking (like this article’s content) gets assimilated and processed a bit later.

My niece highlighted to me that scientists think that learning before bedtime can work better. Anecdotally, this resonates with my experience: Watch the horror movie, then dream about it. Look at a challenging problem before bedtime, and wake up with a solution. Listen to a song and it still lingers in my head in the morning.

Here’s the crux of it: If your and my brain is excellent at processing without interruption, train from, learn from, make sense of, solve, store to persistent memory information just before going to bed, I think you and I should take more care what we value most, and feed our brains that and only that before we go to sleep.

Why feed your brain with random emails just before going to bed? Why watch junk on TV that might use precious brain cycles just to solve the crime that never happened?
Alfred’s new resolution is this:
Before going to bed, Alfred will ponder what he values most. He will memorise a verse, meditate in worship to the living God on the challenges he face and on the Goodness of God and the Mercy and Grace he received via Jesus Christ.

What do you want to feed your brain tonight, before going to bed?


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