Sleeping makes you smarter?

I knew there was a reason I haven’t gotten any smarter since my kids were born: I haven’t been sleeping enough! 

A recent article in Scientific American summarizes recent research into memory, concluding that:

During sleep, the brain reactivates patterns of neural activity that it performed during the day, thus strengthening the memories by long-term potentiation.

Not only that, say the authors, but:

recent discoveries show that sleep also facilitates the active analysis of new memories, enabling the brain to solve problems and infer new information.

So what does this mean for the legion of sleep-deprived parents?

… skimping on sleep stymies … crucial cognitive processes: some aspects of memory consolidation only happen with more than six hours of sleep.

That’s just great. Wait. What were we talking about?

(Hat tip to the good folks at Scientific Learning’s Brain Gain email series for alerting us to the article.)

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