By Deborah Williams
Memories of cramming for exams might surface when one reads about the results of a new study from the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame Psychologist, Jessica Payne, and colleagues studied the two kinds of declarative memory (the ability to consciously remember facts and event). Declarative memory can be broken down into episodic memory (memory for events) and semantic memory (memory for facts about the world) of study participants after a night of sleep or after a night of sleep and a day of wakefulness.
The results, summarized in an article, “Learning Best When You Rest: Sleeping After Processing New Info Most Effective,” on Science Daily, indicate “that sleeping directly learning something new is beneficial for memory.” The researchers found that sleeping after learning new material improved both kinds of memory. This suggests that sleeping soon after learning new material is beneficial to memory. Payne suggests, “that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed.”
So, going to sleep after studying might be what helps to cement the material to the brain.
Here is Professor Payne talking about the important of sleep for children: