Brain uses dreams to process memories

Brain uses dreams to process memories: [S]leep is essential for “learning” certain types of memories, according to one of the authors of a new report on dreams published in the November 2nd issue of the journal Science.

“The brain is actually quite active during sleep,” Dr. Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, told Reuters Health in an interview. Sleep is “not a time when we turn off the brain and let it rest,” he said.

During the day, the brain takes in information at a much faster clip than it can process it, Stickgold explained. The brain seems to perform some of this processing during sleep, he added.

[T]he REM, or rapid eye movement, phase of sleep seems to be critical for what is known as procedural learning, Stickgold said. He explained that this type of learning involves learning how to do things, such as playing the piano. It also is involved in making decisions. [Reuters Health eLine]

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