Throughout our waking lives we are exposed to a continuous stream of experiences.
Some of these experiences trigger changes in the strength of connections between neurons in the brain and begin the process of forming memories.
REM sleep is a period late in the sleep cycle in which the brain and body become active, increasing heart rate and blood pressure.
The eyes shudder quickly back and forth, giving this stage the name Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
This time-dependent process of stabilization, whereby our experiences achieve a permanent record in our memory, is referred to as "consolidation." Memory consolidation can occur at many organizational levels in the brain.
Cellular and molecular changes typically take place within the first minutes or hours of learning and result in structural and functional changes to neurons (nerve cells) or sets of neurons.
Previous studies have shown that sleep improves memory performance.
Memory formation depended on consolidative proteins already expressed before training.
After effective training, long term memory required subsequent transcription and translation.
Alison Preston, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for Learning and Memory, recalls and offers an answer for this question.
A short-term memory's conversion to long-term memory requires the passage of time, which allows it to become resistant to interference from competing stimuli or disrupting factors such as injury or disease.