But Flanagan says your brain's sleep-time work of storing important thoughts into long-term memory, and discarding trivia, is the stuff dreams are made of. Here's how it works: Part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, works during waking hours to make sense of, and to form a narrative structure from, the complex sensory data we experience. Again, this seems biologically advantageous. The cortex doesn't shut down, though, when we go to sleep. It keeps doing its job, trying to cobble together the most coherent narrative it can from all those thoughts that are floating around.
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