Study: Dreams Help Form Memories

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 14 (UPI) — People who get less than a recommended seven to eight hours of nightly sleep may be damaging the brain’s ability to form strong memories, U.S. researchers say.

A University of California, San Diego study found that people who enjoy a lengthy, dream-filled sleep are significantly better at recalling information and making links between facts when they wake, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The study suggests the stage in sleep when the strongest remembered dreams occur — rapid eye movement sleep –is crucial to the brain’s ability to lay down and consolidate memories.

“REM sleep is important for pulling together all the information we process on a daily basis and turning it into memories we can use later,” UCSD sleep researcher Dr. Sara Mednik said.

Adults who get less than the recommended amount of sleep and thus less REM sleep may be hampering the brain’s ability to process and embed memories, she said.

The study, Mednik said, “helps us to understand more about the benefits of sleep and to help people maximize their sleep schedules for optimal productivity and memory retrieval.”

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