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: