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All our lives we have been told that we need to make sure we get enough sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep ensures our bodies are rested, and we have energy to get through the day ahead. Not only is getting sleep important to our physical being, but studies done by the American Physiological Society suggest getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for our brains memory function as well.

When we sleep, our brain is able to process the information from the day and form memories. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brain becomes foggy which impairs our ability to learn and retain new information.

The first thing to know is that there are three different types of memories we can have:

In order for anything to become a memory, three functions must occur:


Acquisition is the actual act of learning or experiencing something new. For example, it is the actual moment you experience your first kiss or someone tells you his or her name.


Consolidation is when the memory “sticks” or becomes stable in your brain, allowing you to remember the details of your memories.


Recall means being able to remember a memory in the days, weeks, and years after it occurs. Recall can be clear or blurry and sometimes the facts may not all be right, depending on the consolidation step of creating memories.

Acquisition and recall happen while we are awake, but researchers believe that consolidation occurs while we are asleep.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure why sleep allows us to retain memories better, or even what part of our sleep cycle is used for memory retention.

However, a study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center taught twelve healthy, collage kids a sequence of finger movements. After 12 hours, the subjects, some of whom slept and some of whom didn’t, were tested on their ability to recall the finger movements while an MRI was used to measure their brain activity.

The MRI results showed that some areas of the brain were distinctly more active after a period of sleep, and those who had slept showed improvements in their motor skill performance. Which demonstrates that sleep is directly linked to our memories, even if we don’t know exactly why or how.

Making sure to get enough sleep can be hard. Here are some tips to help you get a longer, better quality sleep:

Getting the right amounts of quality sleep can be a challenge, especially with all the things we have going on in our busy lives. Remember that sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a big part of making sure your brain is healthy and retaining information and memories.

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