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Sleep is crucial to stronger memory support and overall brain health.

Sleep is crucial to stronger memory support and overall brain health.

We all know that sleep is necessary to replenishing our minds and bodies for the next day, but a new study further reinforces the idea that healthy sleep habits are crucial to boosting memory support.

The Huffington Post reports that researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center and Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research were conducting memory tests with rats, specifically determining how sleep could affect the subjects' memory strength. The scientists found that a rat's memory of a certain odor grew stronger if they were exposed to the smell while sleeping — or during a "slow-wave sleep" — than if they were awake. 

As Dr. Donald Wilson, one of the study's researchers, explains, the brain's sensory functions become far less responsive during slow-wave sleep. Consequently, this kind of "sensory isolation" helps improve the brain to replay already-learned information, which better implants stronger, more precise memories.

"Our findings confirm the importance of brain activity during sleep for both memory and accuracy," said Dr. Wilson in an official statement. "What we think is happening is that during slow-wave sleep, neurons in the brain communicate with each other, and in doing so, strengthen their connections, permitting storage of specific information."

This is the latest in a long line of research that points to sleep as a key ingredient for stronger memories and overall brain health. Five years ago, a sleep study at the University of California, Irvine, found that students would perform better on tests if they took a quick nap after studying. Both of these findings go hand-in-hand with each other, further reinforcing the idea that sleep helps information to stick stronger and deeper in the brain.

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