A Medical Daily news report examines the connection between sleep and memory and how you can learn while you sleep.
To fully understand this, it’s important to note how the mind processes memories during sleep, and which stages of the sleep cycle are involved. When it comes to learning and memory, there are three main components to having something new sink into our brain. The Harvard Medical School details them as acquisition, consolidation, and recall. Acquisition occurs when we are introduced to new information; consolidation involves the stabilization of this information, usually into long-term memory; and recall is the ability to access the information later on. Whether or not we can actually acquire new memories during sleep is up for debate (more on that later) but throughout our resting time, we do know a whole lot of consolidation is happening.
“During sleep, recent memories, such as those of that day, are transferred to the higher cortical centers where they are consolidated into long term memories,” Dr. Robert S. Rosenberg, board certified sleep medicine specialist and author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day, told Medical Daily. “There are different types of memories and their consolidation into the brain’s hard drive for permanent storage occurs at different stages of sleep.”