With humans, a key benefit to sleep is it keeps the brain healthy by letting neurons prune unnecessary synaptic connections we make during the day. This process, called synaptic homeostasis, prevents the brain from being overrun by useless memories. As odd as it sounds, science has recently discovered something similar may occur when artificial neural networks are allowed to sleep and dream. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) – a type of artificial intelligence based on biological neural networks – don't automatically and instinctively fall asleep and dream, so mathematicians in Italy programmed a type of ANN called a Hopfield network to be able to sleep. Extensive testing using simulations validated this theory by showing that a neural network that’s allowed to nap once in a while (using the correct napping algorithm) could result in improved performance. Read more here.