How Does Sleep Affect Memory

A good night’s sleep has many benefits that we are aware of, but what about the effect sleep has on your memory? TEMPUR® investigates the connection between the two…

LINKS BETWEEN SLEEP AND MEMORY

The brain is made up of 100 billion neurons which are linked with thousands of connections, which are constantly developing. If you’re not sleeping enough, you aren’t letting your brain strengthen certain connections, which in turn, doesn’t allow time for the solidification of your memories.

A prominent result of not sleeping well is the decrease in your ability to focus and learn; making absorbing and remembering new information more difficult. However, a good night’s sleep creates and preserves memories, according to their importance. This is because the occurrence of the brain replaying recent events only happens when you’re asleep. When you’re sleeping, your brain shifts its memory to a more efficient storage region, meaning that when you wake up, memory tasks can be performed more quickly and more accurately.

Not only can sleep prevent poor memory and memory loss, but it also helps us to synthesise new ideas. This happens when the brain puts together pieces from our past experiences and creates new ideas during our sleep.

SLEEPING ON MEMORY FOAM

Memory foam is a high-density foam commonly used in mattresses and pillows, that shapes to your body while you sleep. However, even better than memory foam is TEMPUR® Material. Originally developed by NASA to support astronauts during lift-off, TEMPUR® Material provides your body with the ultimate support all night long, evenly redistributing your weight and giving painful areas of the body relief.

Creating a comfortable sleeping environment is important for a restful sleep. Choosing the most suitable mattress is vital. Mattresses can be chosen from a range of softness levels, depending on your preference. Next, choose the best pillow for your sleep style. Depending if you’re a back, side or stomach sleeper, it will change the type of pillow that is best for you.

A cosy sleep environment also means optimising the temperature in your bedroom. The recommended temperature range is from 15-22 degrees Celsius, but this changes from person to person depending on what they prefer. The TEMPUR® Sleep System can help this because TEMPUR® mattresses mould to your body at average bedroom temperature, which will help to keep your body cool throughout the night.

HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

The recommended time to be asleep for most adults is between 6 to 9 hours, but what are the most effective ways to get a better night’s sleep?

Keeping to regular sleep hours is a way in which you can do this. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day can help your body to get into a consistent cycle. This will then assist you to sleep more effectively and therefore get a better night’s sleep.

Increasing the light exposure, you receive during the day is critical for creating a healthy sleep pattern as it helps to calibrate the body’s biological internal clock. However, receiving a lot of light exposure directly before going to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep. To get a better night’s sleep, light exposure needs to be maximised during the day and limited at night.

Finally, wind down in the evenings by reading a book, listening to soothing music, or using a diffuser with your favourite natural oils to get your body and mind in the mood for sleep.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY

Once you’ve optimised your sleep, there are some tricks that you can use to improve your memory.

Meditation isn’t just good for your body, it’s also good for your brain. It helps to relax and sooth the mind, reducing stress and pain. This happens through focused breathing. A relaxed body and mind lowers blood pressure and improves memory.

Eating less sugar will not only help improve overall health, but also memory. Consuming foods which contain a high amount of sugar before going to bed can have a massive effect on sleep. This is because sugar keeps the brain switched on, which negatively impacts sleep and in turn memory.

Your brain is a muscle, and as a result of this you need to exercise it, just like you would exercise your other muscles. You can train your brain by consistently doing challenging memory exercises such as crosswords, word-recall games and even some mobile phone games.

Have you noticed an improvement in your memory when you’ve had a better night’s sleep? What are your top tips for getting to sleep? Let us know in the comments below…

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