Bob Stickgold talked about why a good night’s sleep might be as important as the classes you attend. Sleep works to make sense of the events of the day, stabilizing and enhancing new memories, extracting their essence, and discovering insights missed earlier. Sleep plays a critical role in determining what we remember and how we remember it. Sleep not only stabilizes new memories, but also (i) enhances recently learned skills, (ii) extracts patterns and rules, (iii) integrates new information with older memories into rich networks and (iv) selectively enhances the most important aspects of memories, distilling their gist and pruning away unnecessary details. When sleep-dependent processes fail, psychiatric disorders can follow, including depression and ADHD. Indeed, PTSD may result specifically from a failure of the sleeping brain to process traumatic memories properly.

Learning Objectives:
(a) To learn the structure and importance of sleep.
(b) To learn how sleep enhances learning and memory.
(c) To learn how education can optimally take advantage of the “sleep boost.”

This talk was given at the conference “Brain Development and Learning 2010 Meeting” in Vancouver. It was an interdisciplinary conference devoted to improving children’s lives by making cutting-edge research in neuroscience, child psychology, & medicine. Further information available on

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