Sleep on It: How Snoozing Makes You Smarter
The latest research suggests that while we are peacefully asleep our brain is busily processing the day’s information. It combs through recently formed memories, stabilizing, copying and filing them, so that they will be more useful the next day. A night of sleep can make memories resistant to interference from other information and allow us to recall them for use more effectively the next morning. And sleep not only strengthens memories, it also lets the brain sift through newly formed memories, possibly even identifying what is worth keeping and selectively maintaining or enhancing these aspects of a memory. When a picture contains both emotional and unemotional elements, sleep can save the important emotional parts and let the less relevant background drift away. It can analyze collections of memories to discover relations among them or identify the gist of a memory while the unnecessary details fade—perhaps even helping us find the meaning in what we have learned.
Key Concepts -
As we snooze, our brain is busily processing the information we have learned during the day. Sleep makes memories stronger, and it even appears to weed out irrelevant details and background information so that only the important pieces remain. Our brain also works during slumber to find hidden relations among memories and to solve problems we were working on while awake.