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Home » The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep: Shai Marcu (Transcript)

The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep: Shai Marcu (Transcript)

Photo Courtesy – TED-Ed

In this TED-ED lesson, Shai Marcu shows how sleep restructures your brain in a way that’s crucial for how our memory works.


It’s 4 a.m., and the big test is in eight hours, followed by a piano recital. You’ve been studying and playing for days, but you still don’t feel ready for either.


Well, you can drink another cup of coffee and spend the next few hours cramming and practicing. But believe it or not, you might be better off closing the books, putting away the music, and going to sleep.

Sleep occupies nearly a third of our lives, but many of us give surprisingly little attention and care to it. This neglect is often the result of a major misunderstanding.

Sleep isn’t lost time, or just a way to rest when all our important work is done. Instead, it’s a critical function, during which your body balances and regulates its vital systems, affecting respiration and regulating everything from circulation to growth and immune response.

That’s great, but you can worry about all those things after this test, right? Well, not so fast.

It turns out that sleep is also crucial for your brain, with a fifth of your body’s circulatory blood being channeled to it as you drift off. And what goes on in your brain while you sleep is an intensely active period of restructuring that’s crucial for how our memory works.

At first glance, our ability to remember things doesn’t seem very impressive at all. 19th century psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus demonstrated that we normally forget 40% of new material within the first 20 minutes, a phenomenon known as the forgetting curve.

But this loss can be prevented through memory consolidation, the process by which information is moved from our fleeting short-term memory to our more durable long-term memory.

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