Here's another reason to love sleep.
Apparently, the science section of The New York Times (or the Science Times) is devoting a special issue to examine "a cascade of research into the science of sleep."
According to the article, deep sleep, on which healthy sleepers spend more time earlier in the night, improves memory of learned facts, such as names, numbers, or places. This could mean that those who need to remember facts for exams would do better to sleep and arise early than to stay up late studying. Also, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep enhances pattern recognition learning, such as grammar or chess. The bulk of REM sleep comes later in the night, which means those who need to learn grammar, chess, or the like would benefit from staying up later rather than turning in early. Moreover, Stage 2 sleep, which is the intermediate stage between REM sleep and deep sleep, boosts learning motor skills, such as playing the piano or guitar, or playing hockey.
Pretty cool, eh?
This article was written by Benedict Carey and was published on 23 October 2007.