For many students this is examination season and the temptation to study twenty-four hours a day is high. However, recently reported research has implied that an extra three to four hours of sleep over as little as two days can restore memories. This implies that a good strategy for exam preparation is to reduce revision in the 48 hours before an exam and sleep instead.
Researchers report that sleep helps the brain to reinforce connections between brain cells, which encode important memories, and to remove connections associated with useless information. Of course from an exam preparation perspective, this does imply that you need to have been studying during the course and hence have memories to reinforce. If you haven’t then stop reading this blog and carry on revising – if necessary, all night!
For the older folks amongst my readers who sometimes feel they are suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, having an early night or a late morning lie-in might really restore memories.
The Hindu, Saturday 25th April, 2015, page 12
Keene AC & Joiner WJ, Neurodegeneration: Paying it off with sleep, Current Biology, 25(6):R234-236, 2015