Recently, the journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science, has published findings that explain how sleep is also important for the reorganization of memories. According to Jessica D. Payne of the University of Notre Dame, who co-wrote the article with Elizabeth A. Kensinger of Boston College, our brain extracts the emotional details from our memories during our slumber, while keeping the most relevant information in tact so that it may reconfigure those memories and use them to create new and creative ideas.
Payne and Kensinger study what happens to memories during sleep, and they have found that a person tends to hang on to the most emotional part of a memory. For example, if someone is shown a scene with an emotional object, such as a wrecked car, in the foreground, they're more likely to remember the emotional object than, say, the palm trees in the background -- particularly if they're tested after a night of sleep. They have also measured brain activity during sleep and found that regions of the brain involved with emotion and memory consolidation are active.The table below displays our suggested amount of sleep that is needed at various stages in life:
So, the sleeping brain is actually quite busy. We may not realize how beneficial sleep can be for our brains. Payne says: “People who say they'll sleep when they're dead are sacrificing their ability to have good thoughts now […] we can get away with less sleep, but it has a profound effect on our cognitive abilities”.
Sleep Makes Your Memories Stronger, and Helps With Creativity
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