How your sleep improves your memory

Beth Bradford

10/28/22, 3:48 PM

One of the most important functions of sleep is to preserve memories. Scientists believe that during slow-wave sleep, memories are transferred from the hippocampus to the neocortex for long-term storage.

Sleep is essential for managing mental health and preventing chronic disease. While we are awake, the hippocampus helps keep track of our various daily episodes. The neocortex, which is responsible for our long-term memory, also helps in processing our environment. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania found that during non-REM sleep, the hippocampus teaches the neocortex what happened during the previous day by playing back certain episodes. The brain then enters REM sleep, where the neocortex integrates these events with old information in memory. This is how your brain consolidates everyday events into your memory.


The importance of sleep for our mental processing has been demonstrated by this study's computer simulation, which was based on a healthy adult getting a good night's sleep. The news release also says that future research could help treat sleep-deprived people with psychiatric and neurological disorders. Sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on our focus and attention, making it difficult to fully engage in our waking lives. Consolidating events from our waking life during sleep is crucial for maintaining mental clarity and focus.