A good night's sleep can trigger brain actions to improve memory, says a research report made by the scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) researchers had been able to see the active and the inactive parts of the brain during sleep and wake times and how that contributes to memory.
When a person gets the information inputs a new memory is formed. However these memories may be only short term and in order to make them long term, they need to be embedded in the memory system. This happens when the brain cell connections between different regions are strengthened. It was previously believed that this is established over the years. The current study emphasizes the recent theories that sleep is an important element in improving memory.
The researchers have reordered the brain functions of 12 subjects with the help of fMRI scans after they were taught some finger movements. In the twelve-hour span after the learning the subjects were allowed to stay awake or sleep, when their brain scans were also taken. The results showed that the changes brought in the brain by sleep helped the participants in consolidating their learning experience.
Researchers are hopeful that their findings will be able to help children and other learners in consolidating their learning and improve memory.
Reference: Neuroscience, June 2005