Need to Cram for a Test? Study, then Sleep!

More and more studies continue to reinforce just how important sleep is to learning.

The study, conducted at the University of Lubeck and published in Nature Neuroscience, looked at how the brain stores recent memories during sleep.  Previous research had indicated that new memories are stored temporarily in the hippocampus and don’t gel until they are put into permanent storage in the “hard drive” of the neocortex.  Sleep helps speed that memory “classification”.

After being asked to memorize patterns, half of test group was told to sleep, while the other stayed awake.  The sleep group performed significantly better, retaining on average 85 percent of the patterns, compared to 60 percent for those who had remained awake.

Scientists have been looking at the relationship between sleep and learning for centuries, but still the “all nighter” survives.  Hopefully this latest research will put the final nail in the practice’s coffin.