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Good Sleep and Your Memory

Rodney Baier, DDS
September 18, 2023

Incorporating the whole body needs to be our primary focus on wellness, and a good night’s sleep resets everything. Your cells regenerate during a sleep cycle, you wake up feeling rested, and your body functions at higher levels. Also when you wake up, your brain is clear, alert, and easier able to focus by learning and retaining information. When your brain is tired, you are more prone to making mistakes and are less productive.

Sleeping is key in improving your memory, too. When you sleep, your mind processes and retains the information you gathered throughout your day. This means that when you rest, your brain is solidifying memories and strengthening connections between brain cells while it transfers information through brain regions! In fact, during a normal sleep cycle, your body is forming memories.

Additionally, sleep helps us manufacture brand new ideas while also remembering the old ones. Have you ever woken up with a light bulb moment? This can assist us in our daily activities and problem-solving throughout the day. 

On the other side of this discussion is the lack of sleep in the human body. A lack of proper rest impairs a person’s ability to focus and learn efficiently. Processing of information is slower, retention is lower, and overall memory is at an all-time low when proper sleep isn’t happening. 

When we’re speaking of memories, there are different kinds. Some are episodic which is based on life events, some are instructional which includes learned behaviors, and some are fact-based which includes remembering certain details. In order for your brain to make something become a memory, three functions MUST occur: 

Acquisition: Learning or experiencing something new

Consolidation: This memory becomes stable in the brain

Recall: Being able to access the memory in the future

While you’re awake, acquisition and recall are able to take place. But, during a sleep cycle, researchers believe that sleep is required for consolidation to take place. If you’re not sleeping enough, it makes it harder for your brain to absorb and recall new information. 

As you crawl into bed tonight, rest assured that your memories throughout the day are solidifying and getting you ready for a new day ahead!

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