Brain Prioritises Important Experiences during Sleep, Study

A new study discovered that during sleep the brain prioritises experiences that are important to you and they are more likely to enter your long-term memory. In the study, eighty non-Welsh speaking participants were taught Welsh words before either a period of wake or sleep. brain-prioritises-experiences

Those people who slept after the lessons showed a higher ability to learn the words, and the effect was greatest in those participants who place personal value on the language. These findings suggest that memories perceived as important undergo preferential treatment by the brain during sleep.

Though it has long been established that sleep helps the consolidation of memories, this study has proved for the first time that the effect is influenced greatly by your attitude to the memory.

Prof Mark Blagrove, Swansea University, who conducted the research with his colleague Elaine van Rijn, says: “The mere fact that your beliefs about something seem to affect how the brain processes things during the night is really quite astounding.”

More information here.

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