Sleep and your brain’s video recorder


My wife and I had a conversation with a neuro-ophthalmologist at Duke University a few months ago. He explained to us that 30-50% of the brain’s activity is taken up with vision. That fact amazed me. The eye is the lens that lets in the light, but our brains do the processing and storage of the images carried by the light. So everything I see is processed and stored in my brain, even if I don’t remember all of what I see. So that led me to consider, well, just how much can our brains store? Here is an answer from Scientific American:

“If your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, it has enough memory to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.” Scientific American  April 19, 2010

Three million hours is a lot of hours! In this sense, there is no casual viewing. This is yet another application of the importance of guarding your heart.

It is not surprising that sleep provides an opportunity for some of these stored images to emerge. This helps us to understand why children can be tormented by troubling, unexpected dreams and why teenagers can be dominated with lust in their dreams. Often, the images from dreams are fleeting and difficult to remember. Since sleep is a part of life it is fitting to want to bring honor to God when we sleep.. One of the benefits of delighting in God is sweet sleep. Proverbs 3 indicates that pursuit of sound judgment brings this protection. The same theme is stated in Proverbs 6:22.

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