Especially me, lately. Apparently sleep actually makes you smarter. Students, take note.
The latest research suggests that while we are peacefully asleep our brain is busily processing the day’s information. It combs through recently formed memories, stabilizing, copying and filing them, so that they will be more useful the next day. A night of sleep can make memories resistant to interference from other information and allow us to recall them for use more effectively the next morning. And sleep not only strengthens memories, it also lets the brain sift through newly formed memories, possibly even identifying what is worth keeping and selectively maintaining or enhancing these aspects of a memory.
So—forget cramming for exams and start napping? Probably a reasonable amount of studying beforehand helps, of course!
Note to self: follow your cats’ example.