Sleeping soon after learning new material enhances memory
Sleeping just after learning new things is highly beneficial for recall, says a new research.
This study was conducted by Notre Dame Psychologist Jessica Payne and colleagues on 207 students who habitually slept for not less than six hours every night.
During this study Participants were randomly given to study declarative, semantically related or unrelated word pairs at 9:00 a.m. or 9:00 p.m., and returned for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours or 24 hours later.
Declarative memory is defined as the ability to consciously remember facts and events, and can be categorized into episodic memory (memory for events) and semantic memory (memory for facts about the world). Individuals use both types of memory every day - recalling where we parked today or learning how a particular colleague likes to be called
When scientist conducted a retest at the 12-hou, scientists found that memory overall was better following a night of sleep compared to a day of wakefulness.
However, this difference in performance was an outcome of a marked decline in memory for unrelated word pairs; there was no sleep-wake difference for related word pairs.
The researchers also conducted a retest at the 24-hour where all subjects having received both a full night of sleep and a full day of wakefulness were tasted., Subjects' memories were better when sleep occurred immediately after learning, rather than following a day of complete wakefulness.
"Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory. What's novel about this study is that we tried to shine light on sleep's influence on both types of declarative memory by studying semantically unrelated and related word pairs," Payne has been quoted as saying.
"Since we found that sleeping soon after learning benefited both types of memory, this means that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed. In some sense, you may be 'telling' the sleeping brain what to consolidate," she stated.
PLOS One has published this study in its March 22 issue.
--with inputs from ANI
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