Your brain was sorting out your memories.
Previous research had shown that sleep helps people consolidate their memories, fixing them in the brain so we can retrieve them later. (Read aboutsecrets of why we sleep in National Geographic magazine.)
But the new study, a review based on new studies as well as past research on sleep and memory, suggests that sleep also transforms memories in ways that make them somewhat less accurate but more useful in the long run.
For example, sleep-enabled memories may help people produce insights, draw inferences, and foster abstract thought during waking hours.
“The sleeping brain isn’t stupid—it doesn’t just consolidate everything you put into it, but calculates what to remember and what to forget,” said study leaderJessica Payne, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
See? I knew Republicans should get more sleep. Lots more.