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03 November 2008

Tired brains create false memories

If you don't get enough sleep at night, be sure to drink a cup of coffee before trying to remember important facts – otherwise your mind will play tricks with your memory.

If you don't get enough sleep at night, be sure to drink a strong cup of coffee before trying to remember important facts – otherwise your sleep-deprived mind will play tricks with your memory, according to a team of German researchers.

Popular Library of Science One (PLOS One).

Sleep good for memory
Sleep is known to provide optimal neurobiological conditions for consolidation of memories for long-term storage, whereas sleep deprivation acutely impairs retrieval of stored memories.

Methodology
Subjects were divided into three groups and were given new facts to learn. Two groups learned in the evening and were tested the next morning, after they had either slept or stayed awake during the intervening night. The third group learned in the morning and was tested in the same evening after normal daytime wakefulness.

Frequent false memories
"Subjects of the 'night wake' group, who were acutely sleep deprived at retrieval testing, exhibited significantly more false memories than subjects in the two other groups," Diekelmann writes.


Sleep may strengthen memory
Good sleep boosts memory

 
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