A new study has revealed that people are significantly better at remembering faces and names if they sleep for up to eight hours after seeing those faces and names for the first time.
Jeanne F Duffy of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital found when participants were given the opportunity to have a full night’s sleep, their ability to correctly identify the name associated with a face and their confidence in their answers significantly improved.
In the study, participants were shown 20 photos of faces with corresponding names from a database of over 600 colour photographs of adult faces and asked to memorise them. After a 12 hour period, they were then shown the photos again with either a correct or incorrect name and also were asked to rate their confidence on a scale of one to nine.
Each participant completed the test twice – once with an interval of sleep in between and once with a period of regular, waking day activities in between. When given an opportunity to sleep for up to eight hours, participants correctly matched 12% more of the faces and names.
The study suggested that sleep after new learning activities may help improve memory. Duffy said that sleep was important for learning new information, adding that people more likely to develop sleep disruptions and sleep disorders as they get older which may in turn cause memory issues.