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Doing Life Together

girl-1733352_1920How often have you said, “I just need some sleep?” Your moody, making mistakes and almost had an accident on the way home from work. When you feel the need for sleep, you probably need it. Sleep depreciation makes focus difficult and leads to mistakes. Your body, including your brain, needs sleep. Sleep has restorative benefits and helps our body reboot for another day.

One of those sleep benefits is that your brain is forming fresh memories. Yes, you are actually learning when you are sleeping! Now, don’t get too excited and think you are going to learn Italian in your sleep. The brain doesn’t do that kind of learning while sleeping because it needs to register sound and semantics while learning a language. Most of new learning and recall happen when we are awake. However, the idea is that sleep can help strengthen fresh memories and cut away weaker, older ones. Sleep helps the brain absorb and recall new information. Your brain is busy while you sleep. Sleep helps your memory stick in order to be recalled later.

In fact, a study in the journal Nature Communications demonstrated that while you sleep, memory traces can be formed or suppressed depending on your sleep phase. When sleeping subjects were exposed to novel noise during REM and light sleep stages, they performed better behaviorally when they woke up. But when the same exposure occurred during non-REM deep stage sleep, people in the study had impaired performance when awake. The take away here is that certain  types of learning occur during REM and NREM stages. Your sleeping brain helps form new memories and process sensory information. But it can also suppress new memories depending on the sleep stage and rhythms.

Therefore, a single night of good sleep will help you perform better. If you are a student, you will test better. If you are a musician or athlete, you will perform better. Sleep helps learning and memory by assisting your focus and consolidating those memories, making that memory stable. Sleep deprivation influences our focus and attention, making overworked neurons hard to function. Your brain needs sleep!

So, if you want to learn better and improve your memory, it’s time to evaluate your sleep! No more sleep deprived nights, cramming for tests, or staying up late with 3-4 hours of sleep. Get to bed, rest! it will improve our brain!

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