According to latest study conducted by researchers at the University of Notre Dame, bedtime reading helps better learning and boosts long term memory function.
The study analyzed the retention power of students who were asked to memorize words twice in a day – at 9 in the morning and 9 at night. Brain activity was tested after 30 minutes of learning, followed by testing after 12 hours and 24 hours.
It was found that students who read before sleeping had a better ability of recollect things when compared to those who had read during the day.
According to Jesica Payne, who is the lead researcher of the study and a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, people are able to recall things better when they read before sleep because it does not give the brain enough time to segregate information and decide which information to keep and which to delete.
When you read something during the day, the brain is awake and alert; information absorbed is analyzed by the brain and only the important information is retained in the memory. The research has also thrown light on the fact that it could in fact be a good idea to go through important things such as an upcoming speech or lessons for an examination before going to bed.
However, the information should be gathered before the mind is half asleep. As you begin to fall asleep, your brain does not register things. Payne says that this could be the reason why you forget things that you read when you are consumed by drowsiness.
Further, for information that has to be retained for the long term, you should read a few days before the day when the information has to be recalled. For best effects, you should go through the information once every day.
This is in contrast to the most common habit by college students who study one night prior to the examination day. There are two parts of the brain that are at play here – hippocampus and neocortex. Hippocampus is that part of the brain that is like the RAM in your computer. It retains short term memory.
Neocortex retains long term memory. All information gathered go from hippocampus to neocortex depending on the importance of the information since the brain deletes things that it thinks are unnecessary and thus, prevents your neocortex from crowding.
So, if you are looking for long term moemory, you should give the information some time to pass into the neocortex. This happens best by repetition of information, according to Payne.