It is no secret that sleeping better helps us maintain optimal performance in our daily life activities; and every time we do not have an appropriate sleep, a lot of our cognitive functions get compromised and do not work as well as they are supposed to, affecting several conditions, like our memory.
Enjoying quality sleep has great mental and physical advantages, and improving our memory is one of these benefits. Every time our body rests, it gives our brain the opportunity to start processing all information that was received during the day transforming it into new memories; this activity happens exactly during the deep stage of the Non-REM phase.
Sleep deprivation: side effects on our memory
For memories to become available they need to be developed through:
- Acquisition: Introduction of new information
- Consolidation: Process in which the memory becomes stable
- Recall: Ability to access the information after it has been stored
While the first two types occur when we are awake, this last one requires our brain to sleep in order to absorb all new information; besides when we do not get adequate sleep that follows all Non-REM and REM stages, our cognitive abilities start decreasing, causing serious consequences in our:
- Motor skills
- Physical reflexes
Dealing with low-quality sleep may also affect our mood and therefore reduce our learning skills along with the ability to acquire new information. The time we should spend sleeping depends mainly on the age we have; because while children need to rest more to consolidate a big amount of memories; adults are only required to sleep an average of 7 to 9 hours daily.
It is still unknown how exactly does the process of memories works; the investigation of how certain sleep stages help our brain retaining information, keeping it secure and available for every time we need it; will continue to be an open question; nevertheless, what we do know is that sleep is necessary to survive and maintaining our normal activities functioning correctly.
Tips to improve our sleep quality
Here are a few tips on how to have a better sleep quality:
- Practicing regular exercise
- Reducing the consumption of caffeine and alcoholic beverages
- Avoid eating too close to our bedtime
- Turn off every electronic device that emits blue lighting and loud sounds
- Set up a pleasant environment with comfortable bedclothes
- Establish a sleep routine with a time to go to sleep and wake up