and Memory: How Do They Relate?
Recent studies have shown that
sleep may be a memory aid and may actually be useful in brain and
memory recovery following a stroke or other brain trauma. Recent
brain scan studies done at Harvard show that the brain may be shifting
thoughts into different regions of the brain during sleep, which
may be more efficient for recall purposes later on. Participants
were given sequences of piano keystrokes and were later asked to
recall them; half were given sleep and the other half were not.
The results showed that those who had had a period of rest recalled
the sequence more accurately than those who had not had any sleep.
The brain scans done on these individuals indicated that the memories
were stored and recalled more efficiently after a period of rest.
The limbic region of the brain showed very little activity during
rest; this is the area of the brain responsible for emotions. The
cerebellum, however, showed activity during sleep. The cerebellum
is responsible for motor coordination and other procedural thoughts
such as learning new skills, and interpreting perceptual sensory
Some of the ways that sleep can aide cognition are:
Sleep plays an important role in many different
aspects of our life. The ways that our memories function can easily
be enhanced or detracted from depending on the amount of sleep we
get each night. If you’re memory seems to be slipping from
time to time, you might want to become aware of how much sleep you
seem to be getting each night. There could be a direct link between
how well you function cognitively throughout the day and your sleep
patterns. If you feel that you are experiencing an increasing loss
of memory, than you should voice your concerns to your healthcare
provider in order to rule out any other conditions that may be contributing
to your memory impairment.
- Lowers anxiety
- Increased attention
- Limits hormonal fluctuations
- Lowers stress levels