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Sleep boosts memory

HealthBy Sunday World
Sleep boosts memory

Getting enough sleep is known to improve mood, keep tired-looking skin at bay and help you feel more alert. Now experts have found that sleeping for your recommended eight hours a night will also boost memory recall.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston looked at a study group in a controlled environment at the hospital's Center for Clinical Investigation. Participants were asked to memorise 20 photos of people and their names from a collection of more than 600 pictures. After 12 hours they were shown the same portraits, with either a correct or incorrect name, and were asked to choose the name they thought was right. Participants also had to rate how confident they felt with their answer. The memory test was completed twice.

Results showed that when the group slept for up to eight hours, there was a 12 per cent increase in correct answers.

"We know that many different kinds of memories are improved with sleep," researcher Dr Jeanne Duffy noted. "While a couple of studies have looked at how naps might affect our ability to learn new faces and names, no previous studies have looked at the impact of a full night's sleep in between learning and being tested.

"We found that when participants were given the opportunity to have a full night's sleep, their ability to correctly identify the name associated with a face - and their confidence in their answers - significantly improved."

Findings have been published in journal Neurobiology of Learning Memory, with Dr Duffy hoping that by addressing issues with sleep, people of all ages will be able learn new things.

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