By Tanisha Tyagi
In a new research, it has been found out that if you wake up in the middle of the night, while the process of consolidation of memory is taking place, you are more likely to forget the new things which you have just learned, because the brain then prevents the new information to become memory and move into long-term memories; in order to protect the consolidation of your existing memories.
What! What is that!
Well, have you ever wondered how some memories are easily forgotten while some are easily remembered? And all those times when you couldn’t remember something no matter how hard you tried?
The best example of this would be…taking an exam, after pulling an all-nighter and trying to master EVERYTHING quickly.
Well, it depends on how easily you are able to connect one memory to another, if you can do that, you are more likely to remember that information. It’s just like researching, the more you read on one single topic, the better you know of it.
But fragile memory, which is called short-term memory, lasts for only 20-30 seconds. And in order for it to be retained and retrieved for later use, it must move into long-term memory, which has the potential of lasting forever. So the brain stabilizes this fragile memory through a process called memory consolidation.
What is Memory Consolidation?
In simple words-It is a neurological process which helps you to stabilize and strengthen short-term memory and gradually convert it into long-term memory. Now, there are lots of processes involved in this. But the one which we have the power over is – Sleep consolidation.
Which comes under System Consolidation – “which is a reorganization process in which memories from the hippocampal(hippocampus) region, where memories are first encoded, are moved to the neo-cortex in a more permanent form of storage”
Aren’t we always told to go to bed early? Especially when we have an exam the next day, or an interview?
Well, I have always rolled my eyes at the thought of it, putting it aside as some cliché, made only to be disturbed by my mom at 3 A.M while studying for my history exam!
But now I know. Sleep plays a very important role in memory consolidation, it even has the power to obliterate everything you’ve learned in an hour or two, to consolidate the existing memories. And it is only when you don’t get enough sleep that it prioritizes the memories which existed before you retrieved all the new information!
And that is also why you’re asked to never go to bed angry or never get into an argument before you go to sleep. Due to the consolidation process, these memories are then harder to forget.
Sigh. Memory is very tricky. I guess that is why we say – Forgetfulness is bliss. But if you don’t want to forget, you know what you need-
It’s a good night’s sleep! So, go sleep! Consolidate your memories!
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