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Dream a Little Dream to Increase Memory

Dream a Little Dream to Increase Memory

By Katie Leavitt, Tonic

Most people have encountered times in life that require remembering and processing large amounts of information. Whether it was studying in college, or the first week of a new job, becoming bombarded with information overload is stressful! What is one to do? Try sleeping on it. Studies have shown that power naps can be good for memory performance, yet the most recent finding reveals that it’s all in the dreams.

“When you dream, your brain is trying to look at connections that you might not think of or notice when [you're] awake,” says the lead author of the study, Robert Stickgold, the director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, Mass. to CNN. “In the dream … the brain tries to figure out what’s important and what it should keep or dump because it’s of no value.”

The study involved navigating through a maze in a 3D virtual world. Participants were divided into nap-takers and those who stayed awake. When the test was re-administered five hours later, the nappers performed better than the non-nappers, but those who dreamed about the maze performed 10 times better than the other sleepers.

So instead of pulling all-nighters and continually reviewing information, give your brain a chance to make those connections while you sleep.

Not only will it help you remember, but apparently it will help you perform better as well.

“If you’re not good at something, and you dream about it, you seem to get better at it especially if the information can be used in different situations,” Michael Breus, the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health said in the article.

The benefits were found even after one minute of sleep, so go ahead and indulge in that power nap. It’s more powerful than you think.

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76 comments

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5:12PM PDT on Mar 15, 2011

One of the best memory improvement tips out there is to get more sleep. Adults should be getting 7-9 hours per night. This will make a noticeable diffenence in how your brain performs on a daily basis.
Timothy Romano

2:52AM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

I've remembered quite a few of my dreams, but not in as much detail as I would like. I would love it if we could pour our dreams into a 'video camera' for future viewing! =) This was a fascinating article! I wish I would have read this when I was in college and high school instead of pulling those all-nighters!

8:53PM PDT on Jun 24, 2010

I haven't consistently remembered my dreams for 20 something years. Is there a way to remember them?

8:04AM PDT on Jun 8, 2010

I know that I had a dream but readily forget the details. Some dreams leave an accomplished feeling while others leave agitated.

3:40PM PDT on May 25, 2010

I started dreaming again after they did the digital conversion of the tv and now I only have one local channel so I barely watch tv. About that time I read an article on Care2 that said the light from tv affects your ability to dream. Well I proved it. For a month I was having very bizarre dreams.

3:46PM PDT on May 14, 2010

All time I need to remember things and I take Gingko and I do things to improve and enhance my memory, and sometimes suddenly I remember things of my childhood in Belgium or my early teenage years in Maryland. Now I'm in Ny since my late teens...... Sometimes I remember what I don't want to remember or I foget what I do want to remember. Sometimes forgetting gots me losing things, the most important things, hoping not to have my personal ID stolen...

8:10AM PDT on May 12, 2010

I have trouble actually napping however when I sit and quiet myself as one does in meditation and then ask for information to be recalled most often it does..Sleep or a deep state of relaxation excuses the conscious mind to the sidelines allowing the unconscious mind to step forward. The unconscious mind is a very powerful part of us and learning to tap into this source is wonderful. There are many stories about dreams and the power of this mind in my blog Amazing Stories about Instincts and Intuitions. http://stephaniealt.com/
Thank you for this post. Stephanie Alt MS

12:12PM PDT on May 11, 2010

Interesting stuff! I've always been a fan of a good nap.

10:33PM PDT on May 10, 2010

That makes sense. Speaking of which, I think it's time for me to do just that. Good night, care2!

7:11AM PDT on May 6, 2010

Love my power naps , thanks !!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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