Navigation Links
To Sleep, Perchance to Remember

Study links shut-eye to improved learning skills

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- College students who think all-night study sessions will help them remember facts might want to get some sleep instead. And not just because they'll be more rested when it's time for the test.

That's the message from a new study that finds that as you sleep, the mind consolidates the things you learn during the day.

Study participants who learned how to play a video game in the morning or evening did a better job the next day after a night's rest, apparently because their brains were actively absorbing what they'd learned as they slept.

The finding shows "that sleep is not just a passive state when no information is coming in," said study co-author Howard Nusbaum, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. "It could be the case that people who are pulling all-nighters are not doing themselves a favor."

For the study, the researchers recruited 200 college students, most of them women. Most of them weren't very familiar with playing video games, so they were taught to play the games "Quake III" and "Unreal Tournament" -- so-called "first-person shooter" games that require players to attack enemies.

Some of the participants learned how to play the games in the morning, while others learned in the evening. The researchers then tested the subjects on the video games 12 hours later and 24 hours later.

Those who took part in the morning training sessions showed an average eight-percentage-point improvement in their performance immediately after training. They performed more poorly -- scoring four percentage points better -- 12 hours later. But they scored 10 percentage points better the next morning.

"If we train you in the morning and come back at the end of the day, you forget some of what you learned," Nusbaum said. "But if you sleep after that, it restores some of what you learned."

The students who took part in the evening training sessions performed better the next morning after sleeping, than they did after being trained.

The study findings were published in the current issue of the journal Learning & Memory.

Nusbaum believes that people encounter "lots of interference" during the course of a day, and "you forget some of what you've learned." But researchers don't yet know what causes the interference.

The role that dreams play in the learning process -- if any -- isn't clear either. But some dreams could serve as a kind of practice for the brain, Nusbaum said.

"If you play a video game a lot, and you're playing in your dreams, maybe that could help you learn," he said.

Jerry Siegel, professor at the Center for Sleep Research at the University of Calfornia, Los Angeles, said going without sleep hurts performance, but he's not convinced that sleep itself actively contributes to learning.

"If you take a break for a few hours, it can easily be shown that learning did occur, because performance is better at the start of a new learning session than it was at the end of the initial session," he said. "No sleep needs to occur for this to happen."

Still, Siegel, who reviewed the new study, suggested that sleep before learning a skill is crucial.

"For long-term retention, it is more important to be well rested and therefore attentive when you are doing the learning than afterwards," he said. "It is even better if you don't have to choose and get your natural amounts of sleep every day."

More information

Get basic information about sleep from the University of Washington.

SOURCES: Howard Nusbaum, Ph.D., professor of psychology, University of Chicago; Jerry Siegel, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, Center for Sleep Research, University of California, Los Angeles; November 2008, Learning & Memory

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Poor Sleep, Hypertension a Dangerous Combination
2. Loss of sleep, even for a single night, increases inflammation in the body
3. Findings on bladder-brain link may point to better treatments for problems in sleep, attention
4. Sleep, baby, sleep: parents behavior has direct impact on children’s slumber
5. Interferon needed for cells to remember how to defeat a virus, UT Southwestern researchers report
6. Remember to Send Holiday Mail For Heroes and Thank a Service Member this Thanksgiving
7. Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Remembers, Celebrates the Life of Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll During Capitol Tribute
8. Impulsive eater? Remembering failures may help curb eating
9. Arizona Heart Institute Remembers Heart Surgery Pioneer Dr. Michael E. DeBakey
10. Remember West Nile Virus Safety This Fourth of July
11. Alzheimers Foundation of America Quilt Remembers Moms
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a set of 30 kinetic edge ... video editors can easily add an informative sidebar to any FCPX production. Create ... featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with the ease of FCPX's drag ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Intellitec Solutions announced today that they ... Recognized as Microsoft’s official group for end users of Dynamics SL ERP software, ... industry experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership status demonstrates their ongoing commitment to ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Keeping in ... for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with a leading web-based marketplace ... knowledge gap experienced by parents and bring advice from parenting experts within their ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. Patrick ... Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital ... present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid large area heart damage ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Patients ... central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the things that ... viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they wrote on ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge Major ... at least $15.8  Million to expand its laboratories ... . The expansion will provide additional office ... growing demands of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets. ... will provide up to 40,000 square feet of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Henry Schein, Inc., the world,s largest ... dental, medical and animal health practitioners, will unveil at ... Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion , which brings together for ... solutions designed to help any practice or laboratory enter ... for a schedule of experts appearing at the Pavilion. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... announced that Chief Executive Officer Antonius Schuh, Ph.D., is ... th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference. ... New York Palace Hotel in New York ... p.m. EST. Mr. Schuh will be available for one-on-one ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: