Among the many functions of sleep is the preservation of memories in the brain. After all, memories stick together as you rest for the night. Although it is not known exactly how this happens, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States confirms the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and going through all the stages of sleep for the stabilization process.
Until recently, scientists believed that different types of memory were recorded separately and at different stages of sleep. Now, after the publication of the new studies, science knows that it is a process that occurs sequentially, as a whole, and while we sleep at night.
Human beings basically go through two main stages of sleep. There is the so-called non-REM, which is divided into 3 stages, and the third is the deepest and is characterized by slow waves in the brain. and REM, where there is intense gray matter activity. Thus, the phases alternate in a cycle that is repeated about five times each night.
During this third stage, the most internal, the experiences that the individual has during the day go to the hippocampus, an organ located in the center of the brain. This is a more primitive area, also associated with emotions. This way, with their help, you can determine what is important to correct.
“That’s why we also sleep to forget everything we don’t need to hold on to,” says Maira Honorato, MD, a sleep specialist at Israelta Albert Einstein Hospital.
Sleeping Aces: REM
Then, during REM sleep, information is sent to the neocortex, a thin covering that covers the outside of the brain. It is responsible for more complex cognitive processes, for example, language.
With the help of a model based on the algorithm, the American scientists simulated how the brain reviews the most recent data in the slow-wave phase of sleep. Then they saw how he accessed the oldest information in REM sleep. In this succession of cycles, the hippocampus teaches the neocortex what it has learned, thus creating lasting memories.
“The article confirms what studies have already indicated,” says the expert. “To consolidate memory, you have to go through all the stages of sleep.”
The formation of memories is not only necessary to remember what each individual has been through, but also to learn and develop new skills, from playing a musical instrument to a new language.
In addition, the experts explain that it does not make sense to recover the hours lost on the weekend or on vacation. It is a process that should be daily. Hence the importance of adopting good sleep habits, with regular bedtimes and getting away from screens before bed.