Does sleep help long term memory?

Your lifestyle has the potential to affect your cognitive abilities and brain health. Recently, various researchers have found that sleep may affect our memory in noticeable ways.


Can sleep really affect your memory?

It is well known that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. But what actually happens inside the brain has been a source of considerable debate.

Researchers at New York University School of Medicine and Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School trained mice in a new skill - walking on top of a rotating rod. They then looked inside the living brain with a microscope to see what happened when the animals were either sleeping or sleep deprived. Their study showed that sleeping mice formed significantly more new connections between neurons - they were learning more.

The researchers in this study concluded that brain training alone was not enough to trigger memory consolidation — sleep was a necessary component.

How lack of sleep can hurt your brain

Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. As we said before, this makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. Indeed, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.


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