"We found that when participants were given the opportunity to have a full night's sleep, their ability to correctly identify the name associated with a face - and their confidence in their answers - significantly improved," explained Jeanne F Duffy, associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).Participants in the study underwent testing in a controlled environment while staying at BWH's centre for clinical investigation.

The findings suggest that sleep after new learning activities may help improve memory. While the current study was conducted on healthy subjects in their 20s, the research team would like to explore the implications for people of all ages, including older adults.

"Sleep is important for learning new information. As people get older, they are more likely to develop sleep disruptions and sleep disorders, which may, in turn, cause memory issues," Duffy noted.

By addressing issues with sleep, we may be able to affect people's ability to learn things at all different ages, the authors concluded in a paper appeared in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

 

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