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Your sleeping brain prioritizes the memories you care about

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Image credit: Pixabay/stevepb

We already know that sleep deprivation harms memory and learning. Now it would appear that the consolidation of memories during sleep is influenced by  how much we care about those memories .

In research presented at the British Science Festival, events that are considered to be important are given preferential treatment by the brain when it consolidates memories during sleep.

The study involved 80 English-speaking university students who were shown 28 Welsh-language words before being kept awake or being allowed to sleep for at least six hours.

12 hours after being presented with the Welsh words, participants were tested on how many words they remembered.

Unsurprisingly, those who were allowed to sleep after being shown the words were able to remember them better than those who were kept awake.

What was particularly interesting though, was that for those allowed to sleep after being shown the words,  memory recall was best in those who placed a personal value on the Welsh language .

In conclusion then, if you have some important things to remember it pays to:

  1. Care about those things
  2. Get enough sleep

Source: British Science Festival

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Last updated: September 13, 2016

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

Leave a Comment

  • Fabian Tjong
    January 13, 2017, 1:17 am

    Great post!
    Did you actually knew that if you care enough, to the point that you are focussed before going to sleep, you have the possibility to have a lucid dream.

    I say possibility cause I managed to do it only one time 🙂

    Reply