By Matthew Moore 7:30AM BST 14 Aug 2010
People who enjoy a dream-filled sleep are significantly better at recalling information and making links between facts when they wake, scientists found.
But recharging with a shallow nap offers no such mental boost, the research suggests.
The results of the study add to the growing body of evidence that Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep – the stage of slumber when our most intensely remembered dreams occur – is crucial to the brain’s ability to lay down and consolidate memories.
An average night’s repose includes four or five spells of REM sleep, but these bursts tend to be lengthier towards the end of the night.
This means that adults who get less than the recommended seven to eight hours a night – and therefore insufficient REM sleep – may be damaging their mind’s ability to form strong memories.
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