The Science of Sleep and Stress
Jessica Payne / University of Notre Dame
What’s going on in your head while you sleep? The research of Notre Dame Professor Jessica Payne shows that the non-waking hours are incredibly valuable for your day-to-day life, especially for helping to commit information to memory and for problem-solving. If you ever thought sleep was just downtime between one task and the next, think again. The fact is, your brain pulls an all-nighter when you hit the hay. Many regions of the brain – especially those involved in learning, processing information, and emotion – are actually more active during sleep than when you’re awake. These regions are working together while you sleep, helping you process and sort information you’ve taken in during the course of the day. Professor Payne’s research has focused on what types of information are submitted to memory, and has been instrumental in better understanding how the brain stores the information.
Jessica Payne is the Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, where she directs the Sleep, Stress, and Memory Lab. Her course, The Sleeping Brain, routinely sports a waitlist because of its immense popularity among Notre Dame students. In 2012, Professor Payne received the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is also a two-time recipient of the Distinction in Teaching Award, and won the Award for Teaching Excellence at Harvard University’s Derek Bok Center.