New Research Discovers How Sleep and Dreams Affect Memory and Problem – Kensington Furniture

New Research Discovers How Sleep and Dreams Affect Memory and Problem Solving

Posted by Daniel Green on

The old phrase “let me sleep on it” has taken on a new meaning, thanks to some recent research conducted at MIT about how the sleeping brain aids in memory formation and problem solving. Scientists have known for quite some time that memory is formed by sensory perception connecting to subjective experience. However, brain activity that takes place when we’re cut off from our senses, that is to say when we are asleep and having dreams, is even more important in processing the data we receive when we are awake and obtaining new insights as a result.

Sleep is of vital importance to brain health. Just trying to go without sleep will drive that fact home very quickly. But, as it turns out, turning off our perceptions and going to sleep is just as important when we have a mental task to perform. Sleep allows the brain to process experiences, unimpeded by the need to take in and deal with information from our senses.

The MIT research that consists of scanning the sleeping brains of animals has revealed how information is processed to and from different parts of the brain, especially the hippocampus. Similar research on humans should provide even more insights.

Everyone has awakened from a sound sleep and has had that “eureka moment” in which a seemingly intractable problem suddenly has found a solution. Some people have even been able to work out problems while in a dream state. Now it seems that science is starting to measure in a direct way what happens in the brain when this process occurs.   

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