Sleep can help college students retain and integrate new information to solve problems on a classroom exam, suggests a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday, June 14, in Minneapolis, Minn., at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).
Results show that performance by university undergraduates on a microeconomics test was preserved after a 12-hour period that included sleep, especially for cognitively-taxing integration problems. In contrast, performance declined after 12 hours of wakefulness and after a longer delay of one week.
According to the authors, recent sleep research has demonstrated that learned information is often replayed during sleep. This reactivation of learned information may help to consolidate, or stabilize, memories. The present study uniquely extends this area of research to a realistic task that students would encounter in a university classroom.