Sleep Disorders

12 June 2009

Sleeping helps preserve memories

Sleep is good for your memory, but the sleeping brain seems to store only the most useful information, researchers have found.

0

Sleep is good for your memory, but the sleeping brain seems to store only the most useful information, researchers have found.

Using data from a group of 44 college students aged 18 to 22, the study findings showed that when a good night's rest follows a period of learning, sleep can preserve the most important memories for as long as four months.

The findings were presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies annual meeting, in Seattle, US.

Think of sleep as a period of memory consolidation, where the sleeping brain calculates what is most important about a memory and selects the best candidates for long-term memory, study author Jessica Payne, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, explained in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

"It may be that the chemical and physiological aspects of sleep underlying memory consolidation are more effective if a particular memory is 'tagged' shortly prior to sleeping," she said, adding that sleep seems to selectively preserve memories that are emotionally important and relevant to future goals. - (HealthDay News, June 2009)

Read more:
Happily married women sleep better
Sleep may keep you thin: studies

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules