(Telegraph) Struggling to remember something? Have a good sleep, as researchers find it boosts memory
Scientists show for first time that sleep makes it easier to retrieve nuggets of information that may have got lost in a corner of the brain
It is well known that sleep boosts memory, but scientists have shown for the first time it also makes it easier to retrieve nuggets of information that may have got lost in a corner of our brain.
In two situations where subjects forgot information over the course of 12 hours of being awake, after a night’s sleep they were about twice as likely to be able to remember it.
Psychologist Dr Nicolas Dumay, of the University of Exeter, said: “Sleep almost doubles our chances of remembering previously unrecalled material.
“The post-sleep boost in memory accessibility may indicate that some memories are sharpened overnight. This supports the notion that, while asleep, we actively rehearse information flagged as important.
“More research is needed into the functional significance of this rehearsal and whether, for instance, it allows memories to be accessible in a wider range of contexts, hence making them more useful.”
The finding, published in Cortex, means sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access because we are more likely to recall facts that we could not remember while still awake.