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Sleep: A Memory Booster?

What’s going on in the brain while we sleep? A lot! Specif­i­cal­ly, process­es sup­port­ing the con­sol­i­da­tion of mem­o­ries. This Dana Foun­da­tion arti­cle reviews fas­ci­nat­ing stud­ies in which mem­o­ries are reac­ti­vat­ed dur­ing sleep thanks to either an odor or an audi­to­ry cue. Results sug­gest that such reac­ti­va­tion leads to bet­ter mem­o­ry:

reac­ti­va­tion dur­ing slow-wave sleep sup­ports the trans­fer of the mem­o­ry rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the hip­pocam­pus to long-term stor­age in the neo­cor­tex, and also strength­ens it

one pos­si­ble appli­ca­tion of such find­ings could be to over­write unwant­ed trau­mat­ic mem­o­ries

anoth­er appli­ca­tion would be to use the deep-sleep reac­ti­va­tion to enhance mem­o­ries in stu­dents, or in elder­ly peo­ple with declin­ing mem­o­ry skills.

More evi­dence then that a good night sleep should be part of any good brain main­te­nance pro­gram.

Inter­est­ed in this top­ic? NOVA has a great inter­ac­tive fea­ture on the sleep and mem­o­ry con­nec­tion. Read also our relat­ed posts:

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  1. David says:

    Sounds promis­ing, espe­cial­ly with exams com­ing up and the cur­rent (or chron­ic?) lack of time, facil­i­tat­ing learn­ing dur­ing sleep would be per­fect! 😉

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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