A team of scientists led by Leonardo G. Cohen, senior researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (NINDS), conducted a study of the brain during training and found out how useful short breaks are when learning new information. The findings of neurologists are published in the journal Cell Reports.
A regularly resting brain repeatedly and quickly recalls memories of newly learned information or practices. The more often a person reproduces new information during rest, the better he assimilates and applies it. In a study of 33 healthy volunteers, scientists identified brain activity that occurs when a person learns a new skill. That being said, short breaks have become the key to effective learning. It turned out that during the rest, the brains of the volunteers quickly and repeatedly reproduced the experience lived through training, and the better it assimilated it.
“Our results support the idea that waking rest plays just as important a role as practice in learning a new skill. This appears to be a period when our brains compress and consolidate the memories of what we just practiced, ”explained Leonardo G. Cohen, MD, senior researcher at the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and senior author of the study. … He added that understanding the role of neural reproduction during short rests could not only improve the way people learn new knowledge, but also help patients recover skills lost after neurological trauma such as stroke.
The scientists explained that the statement about the importance of night sleep in learning, during which information passes from short-term to long-term memory, remains true, and the new discovery proves that during wakefulness, provided short breaks are observed, the brain is able to process 20-25 times faster new information, improving the performance of the test subject. “This suggests that while awake, the brain ties together the memories necessary to master a new skill,” the scientists write.
Reproduction activity often occurs in the sensorimotor areas of the brain that control movement. However, activity was observed in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex (a part of the cerebral cortex located in the temporal lobe and related to the hippocampus formation). “We were a little surprised by these latest results. Traditionally, it was believed that the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex do not play an essential role in procedural memory (a type of unconscious, long-term memory). But our results show that these areas quickly interact with the sensorimotor cortex when learning skills, ”said Dr. Cohen.
Previously, psychologists talked about ways to restore healthy sleep after a pandemic. Experts pointed out that disruptions in circadian rhythms were noted by both those who had been ill with COVID-19 and those who were fleeing the infection at home. To improve the night's sleep that is necessary for mental health, psychologists recommend going through cognitive-behavioral therapy to break unhealthy habits, such as watching gadgets before bed or thinking for a long time.