Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, we’re betting you wouldn’t mind hearing a fantastic, backed-by-science excuse to linger in bed a little longer on the weekends, right? Good news: New joint research from the University of Exeter in the UK and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in Spain says hitting the snooze button is good for your memory.
In a recent study published in the journal Cortex, researchers asked participants to learn made-up words invented for the purpose of the exercise. Through a series of controls and experiments, participants were asked to learn and later recall the words after varying periods of sleep and wakefulness. The results, they say, show that sleep helps to rescue unrecalled memories. In other words, the act of “sleeping on it” can do more than just help us make decisions; it can also improve our ability to recall recently gathered information with greater ease and clarity.
Researcher Nicolas Dumay, an experimental psychologist at the University of Exeter and an honorary Staff Scientist at BCBL, says, “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.”
So, the next time you’re studying for a test, cramming for an interview or getting ready for a big presentation, skip the all-nighter. Instead, hit the pillows for a good night’s sleep. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
How many hours of sleep do you need to stay sharp as a tack? Spill in the comments below!