WHY DOES SLEEP HAVE A PROTECTIVE EFFECT ON OUR MEMORY?
Sleep is an incredibly interesting area. Whether for those who wish to improve their health or just better understand the natural state in which we spend about 1/3 of our lives. As vital as breathing, digestion or immunity, sleep is a spontaneous behavior in which brain activity slows down more and more as sleep deepens.
Between the power of dreams, the quality of sleep that can predict our sensitivity to anxiety disorders , or the lack of sleep that would be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological diseases , it seems that sleep also plays a vital role to help us make the most of our memory . This is highlighted by a newneuroscience studypublished in October 2017 by the University of York (United Kingdom).
SLEEP IS A FUNDAMENTAL KEY TO OUR HEALTH
Sleep is a true means of recovery and it helps us to use our memory in the most flexible and adaptable way possible by reinforcing new and old versions of the same memory to similar degrees.
The researchers in this study also demonstrate that when a memory is recovered – that is, when we remember something – it is updated with new information present at the time of memory. The brain does not seem to “crush” the old version of memory, but generates and stores several versions (new and old) of the same experience.
The results of the research, conducted at York’s Sleep, Language and Memory Laboratory (SLAM), are presented in the scientific journal Cortex . Previous studies have shown the importance of sleep for memory, showing that sleep reinforces old and new versions of an experience, helping us to use our memories in an adaptive way. In this way, sleep allows us to use our memory in the most efficient way possible, which allows us to update our knowledge of the world and adapt our memories for future experiences.
SLEEP PROTECTS OUR MEMORY AND UPDATES OUR MEMORIES
In the study, two groups of subjects learned the location of words on a computer screen. In a test phase, participants received each word in the center of the screen and had to indicate which word they thought they belonged to or linked to.
One group then slept for 90 minutes while a second group remained awake before each group repeated the test. In both groups, the location recalled during the second test was closer to the one recalled in the first test than to the location initially learned, indicating that the memory update had occurred and that new traces of memory had been formed.
However, by comparing the sleep and wake groups directly, the places recalled by the sleep group were closer to the updated location and the initial location, suggesting that sleep had reinforced the new and the old. version of the memory.
This study reveals that sleep has a protective effect on memory and facilitates the adaptive updating of memories.
For the sleep group, the researchers found that sleep reinforced both their memory of the original location and the new location, demonstrating that sleep benefits all multiple representations of the same experience. in our brain.
Finally, the researchers point out that while this process helps us by allowing our memories to adapt to changes in this world around us, it can also hinder us by incorporating incorrect information into our memories. Over time, our memory will rely on accurate and inaccurate versions of the same experience, which will distort the way we remember previous events.