Sleep makes your memories stronger, helps with creativity.
|Publication:||Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075|
|Issue:||Date: Winter, 2010 Source Volume: 13 Source Issue: 4|
As humans, we spend about a third of our lives asleep. So there
must be a point to it, right? Scientists have found that sleep helps
consolidate memories, fixing them in the brain so we can retrieve them
later. Now, new research is showing that sleep also seems to reorganize
memories, picking out the emotional details and reconfiguring the
memories to help you produce new and creative ideas, according to the
authors of an article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a
journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
"Sleep is making memories stronger," says Jessica D. Payne of the University of Notre Dame, who co-wrote the review with Elizabeth A. Kensinger of Boston College. "It also seems to be doing something which I think is so much more interesting, and that is reorganizing and restructuring memories."
Payne and Kensinger study what happens to memories during sleep, and they have found that a person tends to hang onto 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.
"In our fast-paced society, one of the first things to go is our sleep," Payne says. "I think that's based on a profound misunderstanding that the sleeping brain isn't doing anything."
Association for Psychological Science (2010, November 12). Sleep makes your memories stronger, and helps with creativity. Retrieved from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/ sleep-makes-your-memories-stronger.html
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