Sleep Onset, The Cognitive Shuffle and Productivity: Our Presentation at the 2014 SFU Learning Together Conference

Sheryl Guloy and I will be giving a presentation on the cognitive shuffle and cognitive productivity on Friday May 9 at the SFU Learning Together 2014 Conference. That’s an annual conference put on by the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

The title of our presentation is:

Decreasing sleep-onset latency for better cognitive performance in faculty and students: Super-somnolent mentation and the new “cognitive shuffle” technique compared with monotonous imagery training.

If you’re interested in practical applications of cognitive science, or you just want to learn about the cognitive shuffle and mySleepButton™, you might want to attend our presentation.

NB: Like my contribution last year (which was on cognitive productivity), our presentation this year is not in-line with the general theme of the conference (conflict and diversity).

Here’s the nitty gritty.


Sleep deprivation interferes with cognitive productivity, a core concern of students and faculty. Long initial and middle-of-the-night sleep onset (SO) latencies can lead to sleep deprivation and its sequela. Cognitive-behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is more effective in the long run than drug therapy (Morin, 2006) and does not have its adverse side-effects. Still, CBT-I has yet to reach its potential. Unfortunately, there has been little response to Harvey & Tang (2003) call for researchers to improve CBT-I. However, Beaudoin (2013) proposed a new framework of cognitive mechanisms underlying SO. From this analysis, he discovered the possibility of super-somnolent mentation. Consequently, he derived new classes of cognitive techniques to decrease SO latency, including the cognitive shuffle, of which serial diverse imagining (SDI) is a promising subclass.

In this presentation, we will argue on information-processing grounds that the cognitive shuffle technique should be significantly more effective than the well-established (monotonous) imagery technique at decreasing SO latency (Morin, 1988). We will briefly describe an experiment being planned to test this hypothesis in an academic setting. The research will utilize mySleepButton™, a lean CogSci Apps Corp.™ app designed to (a) induce super-somnolent mentation via the cognitive shuffle (including SDI); and (b) enable sleep researchers to study sleep on very large numbers of participants. We will relate SDI to other psychological techniques (many of which can be used in combination with SDI). We will discuss the testable implications of SDI for students and faculty’s cognitive productivity.

About the Authors

Luc P. Beaudoin is an Adjunct Professor of Education. He specializes in theory and applications of affective cognitive science. His Cognitive Productivity Research Project focuses on self-directed learning and meta-effectiveness in knowledge workers. He is the author of Cognitive Productivity: The Art and Science of Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective. He is the founder of CogZest and co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp.

Sheryl Guloy is a Ph.D. candidate in SFU’s Educational Technology and Learning Design. She is interested in organizational learning, virtual mentoring environments, and human performance technologies.


Beaudoin, L. P. (2013). The possibility of super-somnolent mentation: A new information-processing approach to sleep-onset acceleration and insomnia exemplified by serial diverse imagining (MERP Report No. 2013–03). Cognitive Productivity Research Project, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University. (40 p.)

Harvey, A. G., & Tang, N. K. Y. (2003). Cognitive behaviour therapy for primary insomnia: Can we rest yet? Sleep Medicine Reviews, 7(3), 237–262. doi:10.1053/smrv.2002.0266

Morin, C. M., & Azrin, N. H. (1988). Behavioral and cognitive treatments of geriatric insomnia. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56(5), 748.

Published by

Luc P. Beaudoin

Head of CogZest. Author of Cognitive Productivity books. Co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. Adjunct Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University. Why, Where, and What I Write. See About Me for more information.

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