Does sleep affect memory?

Want to maximize your learning capacity? Get some sleep. That’s the takeaway from a study that examined the influence of sleep and time of day on learning and memory.
What did the researchers find?
  • Time of day had no effect on performance and initial memory (at the 30 minute test).
  • After 12 hours, overall memory was better after a night’s sleep than for those who spent the day awake
  • After 24 hours, researchers found that students who went to sleep shortly after learning had better memory of what they learned than those who did their learning followed by a day of wakefulness before sleep. 
  • The deterioration of memory during the wake period was less when students had slept shortly after learning
These results indicate that sleep is most helpful to memory when it happens soon after learning new things. Sleep seems to have a stabilizing effect on newly learned information, rooting it into memories that last and clearing the way for new information to be processed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.