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What stages of sleep are important for memory?

Dr. Christopher E. Morgan, MD
Sleep Medicine Specialist

The earlier stages of sleep are important for memory consolidation—specifically stage two and three. In these stages, memories become more stable and they prime the brain for learning the next day. Lack of sleep can cut learning ability up to 40%.

In stage two sleep, brainwaves become slower and there is an occasional burst of rapid brainwaves. During stage three, brainwaves go even deeper and slower. It's during this stage that you obtain your most restorative sleep. Stage three sleep helps combat that daytime feeling of sleep deprivation.

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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.