The relationship between sleep and memory

TIME Magazine reports:

For nearly two centuries, researchers have suspected that sleep plays an important role in learning and memory. But it’s only in the last decade that neuroscientists have discovered the most convincing evidence that memory is indeed dependent on sleep. The prevailing theory is that during deep sleep, the brain replays certain experiences from the day, which, in turn, strengthens the memory of what happened. It is thought that when it comes to factual memories, like names, faces, numbers or locations, memory consolidation happens only during deep sleep — a phase of non–rapid eye movement sleep. (The other broad type of sleep, called rapid eye movement or REM sleep, which is when dreaming occurs, is believed to play a role in consolidating memories involving emotions and motor skills, such as dancing or playing an instrument.)

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