We all know that sleep can help you with focus and health. But did you know why?
A new study out of Paris says different phases of sleep are instrumental both to helping your brain retain information, but also dispose of it.
The researchers had 28 participants listen to a series of sounds while they were asleep and hooked up to machines that monitored their brain waves.
They looked at the effects of three specific phases of sleep — rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, light non-REM (NREM) sleep, and deep NREM sleep.
When the participants woke up, they were given a series of tests to see how well they recognized the sounds that they had been played.
They researchers found that if they had heard the noises during REM or light NREM sleep, they were more likely to recall what they had heard than if they had been played the sounds during deep NREM sleep. But it was also harder for them to re-learn those sequences than it was to retain new sounds when they were awake.
The researchers explained in their findings that this was an early experiment that could lend itself to a better understanding of how we learn.
“Understanding why both REM sleep and light NREM sleep favor learning while deep NREM sleep suppresses it could provide a unified view of the impact of sleep on memory formation,” they wrote in the study.
Ultimately, it seems that if you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not allowing your brain the fully process all of the information that you get in a given day.
Do yourself a favor, get the full eight hours and let your mind decompress.