Sara Mednick in the UCI Sleep Lab

“Stage 2 sleep is really great for alertness and that pushing-the-reset-button kind of power nap,” says Professor Sara Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Irvine. “Rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep is good for creativity and perceptual processing and also semantic associations,” says Mednick, author of The Power Of The Downstate. “You learn new information and encode it and memorise it in slow-wave sleep, but you then integrate that new information into your semantic network during REM.”

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