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Sleep the key to Learning

10-11-2011

We all know that sleep is an essential part of life, but just how essential is it? Most of us think of the rejuvenating qualities of sleep when we think about how sleep benefits us. It is easy to spot how much more awake and revitalised we feel in the morning, but scientists are starting to discover some amazing qualities of sleep that we never knew before.

In one test, they had patients memorising pairs and then testing them on their memory. They found that people who had slept before the test would score significantly higher in the test than those that hadn’t sleep between memorising and being tested. In other words, while the people were asleep, their brains managed to process the information and arrange it into meaningful hierarchies and categories.

Sleep then is not only about revitalising the body and mind, it also plays a crucial role in memory and learning. It is a time when the brain can take stock of what it has seen during the day, placing it into context and gaining meaning from it.
In some respect, this would, explain dreams, which often include events of the previous day. Dreams are the brain sorting and categorising the day’s events, giving them meaning.


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