(Philadelphia) If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter to sneak in some extra studying right before a test, you’ll be surprised to find out that your study spree was probably detrimental to your performance the next day. Assistant Neuroscience professor Marcos Frank, PhD and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania have published research describing how cells change to promote the formation of memories when you sleep.
“This is the first real direct insight into how the brain, on a cellular level, changes the strength of its connections during sleep,” Frank says.
According to Frank, the brain is fundamentally different– in terms of biochemical, enzymatic changes– when sleeping than when awake. “To our amazement, we found that these enzymes never really turned on until the animal had a chance to sleep,” Frank explains, “As soon as the animal had a chance to sleep, we saw all the machinery of memory start to engage.”
This research focuses on how memories are formed or stored, not how they are recalled. But if you want to correctly recall Spanish vocabulary, it needs to be stored first. So, if you want to remember what you’re working to learn, sleep on it.