Different kinds of memories are improved during sleep.
Several studies have looked at how sleeping might affect our ability to learn new faces and names, no previous studies have looked at the impact of a full night of sleep in between learning and being tested.
“We found that when participants were given the opportunity to have a full night’s sleep, their ability to correctly identify the name associated with a face – and their confidence in their answers – significantly improved,” explained Jeanne F Duffy, an associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).
A test was done for many participants, they were shown 20 pictures of faces with corresponding names from a database of over 500 color photos of adult faces and asked to memorize them.
After 12 hours, they were then shown the pictures again with either a correct or incorrect name.
In addition to answering whether or not the correct name was shown, participants were asked to rate their confidence on a scale of 1 to 9.
When given an opportunity to sleep for up to 8 hours, participants correctly matched 12% more of the faces and names.
The test results suggest that sleep after new learning activities may help improve memory.
While the current study was conducted on healthy subjects in their 20s, the research team would like to explore the implications for people of all ages, including older adults.