Why do we sleep? Although science has yet to explain the reason we spend one-third of our lives in this bizarre state, an exciting theory suggests that sleep can solidify newly learned memories by rewiring the architecture of brain.
Emerging neuroscience evidence also indicates that sleep can intelligently associate and integrate new memories together, performing a kind of "sleep-dependent alchemy." This phenomenon may fuel creative human insights, often reflected in dream content.
In addition to memory benefits, recent findings also suggest that sleep can "refresh" emotional brain reactivity, smoothing away the rough edges from our prior waking concerns, thereby allowing rational next-day decisions.
Thinking about skimping on your Zs? You'd better tune in to hear what UC Berkeley's Matt Walker has to say about it first!
Matt Walker is a Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of California Berkeley.