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How sleep helps us to remember and forget at the same time

According to new research, while we sleep, our brains clear out unwanted memories and help us to form new ones. Can we both learn and unlearn while we sleep? A new study suggests that we can. Both processes occur during different phases of sleep, the research shows. Our brains have the ability to come up with creative solutions to problems when we least think about them, and, some think, to learn new things while we are resting. Most of the wonderful work that our brains do is invisible, and what goes on under the hood has preoccupied neuroscientists for at least the past two centuries. It is a known fact that sleep and memory are deeply connected. For instance, studies have shown that neuroplasticity – that is, the brain’s ability to retrace new connections between neurons and to forge new pathways that enable us to learn new information – is heavily dependent on sleep. It is during sleep that our synapses relax and regain their plasticity. Despite some of these studies suggesting that our brains have the ability to learn while asleep, the scientific literature available shows mixed results. Some studies managed to produce evidence in favor of this theory, while others did not. ­Agencies

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