We need to sleep for a host of reasons, but what exactly is happening in our brains while we’re unconscious? We’ve only scratched the surface of understanding all that happens during sleep, but we do know that while our bodies are resting, our brains are very busy.
Have you ever tried to commit some skill or knowledge to memory and you magically perform better after a night of sleep? It’s not magic. One of the most significant functions of sleep is the process of memory consolidation: experiences you’ve had during the day, things you’ve started to store in your memory, become consolidated and stabilized during sleep. Different stages of sleep function to consolidate different kinds of memory, so a full night of sleep (six to nine hours on average), helps your memory function more cohesively.
Take in what professors Bob Duke and Art Markman have to say in the players above. Then have a nap, to refresh and consolidate what you’ve learned. Sleep is a lot more than just rest; do yourself a favor and get the sleep that your brain and the rest of your body needs.
Originally aired June 9, 2013.