It has been more than a century since German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus he hypothesized about the benefits of sleep in memory improvement. Unfortunately, his study of learning during sleep had some anomalies in the results that he could not explain, so he rejected the possibility. Forty years later, thanks to the work of Jenkins and Dállenbach (1924) 'the effect of sleep' the importance of sleep on our memory was directly demonstrated.
Our brain work
Every day our brain is bombarded with millions of data that we must process, but as in practice not all data is useful, many of them are discarded almost instantly. More important ones are stored for later use. We do all this unconsciously most of the time.However, there are times when we are forced to record information regardless of its usefulness, for example for an exam. This is where the conflict between our desire to store data and what our brain wants to store begins, no matter how much we want to store information, if our brain considers it useless, it will eliminate it, but if we convince our brain that this data is valuable, you can get to store it for a long time. Unfortunately, to give that value to information we must do many things in parallel, among others insist on reading some notes, making schemes, etc.
Several studies currently support the idea that sleep is a very productive therapy against memory loss, although on the other hand, some studies also speak of the fact that learning a concept in the morning and staying awake during the day causes greater loss of information, such as the study by Kimberly M. Fenn and David Z. Hambrick, in which They show us that if we want to retain long-term data, after learning it, we no longer have to bombard the brain with more data, but rather, go to sleep to process the information learned and consolidate it for a long time.
Learn while we sleep
Learning while sleeping may be possible through some kind of unconscious memory that we still do not fully understand, although according to a study by these researchers at Michigan State University, and they say: “We believe that we may have investigated a separate form of memory, different from traditional memory systems”Said Kimberly Fenn, assistant professor of psychology and principal investigator of the project. "There is no substantial evidence that during sleep, the brain is processing information without its knowledge and this ability can contribute to memory in a waking state.”.
In the study that was conducted with more than 250 people, Fenn and Hambrick Zach, associate professor of psychology, suggest that people get different effects of this "dream memory", the ability with some memories improves substantially, while others seem to have no differences. This capability would be a new previously defined form of memory.
“You and I could go to bed at the same time and sleep at the same time"Said Fenn,"but while your memory may increase considerably, there may not be any change in mine. ”But he added that most of the people in the study showed improvement.
Fenn also said he believes that this potential independent memory capacity is not being captured by traditional intelligence tests and proficiency tests, such as the SAT and ACT.
“This is the first step to investigate whether or not it is possible to build a new memory related to results, such as classroom learning", said.
This reinforces the need for adequate sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people sleep less every year and 63 percent say they don't get enough sleep during the week. So, only with a sleep improvement could you improve class attention, according to Fenn.
The conclusion of all this is obvious: It is better to sleep more not only to maintain a better level of health, but also to be able to benefit from that apparent form of memory linked to sleep, with the result of improving our total capacity for learning and memorization.