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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sleep loss impairs memory BEFORE learning

I just came back from the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. One of the papers presented there reported experiments showing that depriving college students of sleep impaired their ability to remember what they learn the following day. I have the details at my Web site.

Earlier posts at my Web site explain research that sleep loss impairs memory of events that occurred during that same day. Now, this research shows "proactive" impairment. We professors always knew that pulling "all nighters" where students stay up all night to study for an exam made them do dumb things on an exam. Now we know that this sleep loss impairs not only what they learned the day before but also what they are supposed to learn the next day. When will students learn that?

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