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Sleep makes for better memory

HealthBy Sunday World
Sleep makes for better memory

If you sometimes find yourself unable to remember simple facts and with no power to recall specifics from your day, it might be time to get a bit more shut eye. New research has found having enough sleep doubles your chance of remembering things, apparently because it allows your memories to be more accessible and improves your recall. This is even the case when it comes to things which were completely forgotten.

A team at the University of Exeter, UK, gave a group of people some made up words to remember. Those who were asked to recall them after a full night's sleep did much better that those who were quizzed after 12 hours of being awake.

"Sleep almost doubles our chances of remembering previously unrecalled material," Psychologist Dr Nicolas Dumay explained.

"The post-sleep boost in memory accessibility may indicate that some memories are sharpened overnight.

"This supports the notion that, while asleep, we actively rehearse information flagged as important.

"More research is needed into the functional significance of this rehearsal and whether, for instance, it allows memories to be accessible in a wider range of contexts, hence making them more useful."

The research, published in journal Cortex, could be especially exciting for students, as it appears to suggest that studying hard for an exam the night before could have a big impact on your success rate.

At the moment, what causes the memory boost isn't entirely known, but it's thought that sleep helps unlock memories which have just been made and replays them in the part of the brain which initially created them.

If you want other ways to boost your memory, thinking about what you're eating could be a good idea too. Things like wholegrains, oily fish, blueberries and tomatoes are all healthy choices, thought to improve powers of recall.

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