It’s clear that sleep plays an important role in memory. We also know that taking naps helps us store important memories. Advancement in technology helps observe brain activity. This helps to understand how the quantity and quality of sleep one gets affects your brain. Not sleeping enough can make an impact on your sense of judgment, mood, energy levels and even memory.
People who are continuously deprived of sleeping are more likely to fall sick easily. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity develop easily. Each of these can decrease blood flow inside the brain. Brain cells need a lot of oxygen and sugar, so blood flow problems could affect their ability to work properly.
Importance of sleeping on your memory
The process of learning is usually described in three steps. This includes:
- Acquisition: when you are introduced to new information.
- Consolidation, which is when our brain absorbs the information.
- Recall: when you access information after it has been stored successfully.
Sleeping however, is necessary for the second step i.e. the consolidation of memories. The process helps strengthen or solidify memories in the brain. Additionally, they can help recall when you are awake.
The hippocampus and the neocortex which serve important functions by replaying, reviewing and processing the memories you have acquired. During this activity, the brain chooses to preserve significant memories and filter out negligible ones.
This explains why it’s a bad idea to stay wide awake before a big test. While staying up can help you activate short-term memory, it does not help in retaining the information. When we try to learn information quickly, we’re only enabling short-term memory,
This memory type extinguishes rapidly. If you don’t ‘re-use’ information, it disappears within a period of a few minutes to a few hours. Cramming doesn’t allow information to assimilate from short-term to long-term memory, which is important for performing well on a project or exam.
According to research , most adults can benefit from getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep while those who are past the age of 65 can ideally aim for 7 to 8 hours.