How Sleep Can Help You Save Your memory
Ever experienced a memory gap or a lapse in the accuracy of recall? Some blame it on old age, some blame it on stress...but ever thought of blaming the lack of quality sleep?
One of the vital factors affecting memory is sleep. Studies have already shown how sleep helps boost memory and other cognitive functions. It is more strongly associated with the consolidation of procedural memory which involves the use of both learned knowledge and skill.
While every day is packed with new pieces of information, opportunities to meet new people, see new places, learn and come up with new insights, it would be so frustrating if it would all just drift away because our body won't have any effective means of processing and saving such information. This is why memory is important as it is in-charge of recovering information about past events or knowledge.
Being an indispensable critical element in people's lives, a lot of techniques, devices, and theories were devised to enhance memory and optimize learning. One of the easiest is just by sleeping.
Optimizing the action of sleep on one's memory involves getting a good sleep. One can just sleep more if what is needed is just a plain and simple sleep. However, it should also be noted that the quality, kind, timing/onset and duration of sleep also do matter.
Looking at quality means evaluating the stages achieved during sleeping. The critical stage be able to get the cognitive benefits of sleep is the deep sleep stage (4th stage of sleep.) This stage is actually marked by the physical restoration of energy and body processes, but it is also at this stage that the cognitive function is enhanced. For people who are having difficulty reaching this stage, factors in the environment, diet, and lifestyle can be examined and modified accordingly. Moreover, medical problems to which sleep problem is only secondary may also be present.
Timing and duration of sleep are also critical in maximizing the memory enhancing benefits. Studies show that both nighttime and daytime sleep gives cognitive benefits. Benefits of nighttime sleep can be obtained if one is getting enough amounts of uninterrupted sleep.
Other groups of researchers also studied what daytime sleep or "power napping" can give. It was found out that it definitely gives cognitive benefits. Even if it costs a person just 15-20 minutes of his or her time it promises improved cognitive function. Some studies even give significant results from just a brief 6-minute power nap.
There is still a gray area on how it exactly works. If one would rely on established facts, it has been known that it takes about 20 minutes before deep sleep can be reached. It is in this stage where cognitive enhancements take place so if you steal a nap just for a very brief period of time, then this stage may not be reached. However, evidence has proven that it really is beneficial. Its possible downside may be prevented if it's not done for too long and it should not be scheduled late in the afternoon. Otherwise, this can affect the quality of your nighttime sleep.
Some experts also advise that the timing of sleep should not be earlier than 15-19 hours after awakening from the previous night's sleep. It is also important to immediately respond to the signal to sleep as the proper timing of hitting the bed should be right exactly at the time when there's increased drowsiness, not before or not after that period.
Indeed our body will always find a way to tell us that it needs some rest and adequate time for charging up. Similarly, our body also has ways to reward us with good things if we attentively address its needs.