How Sleep can Improve Memory

A good night's sleep can play an important role in memory and learning.


Happiness, Sleep, Calm

(Volha_R /

You know that feeling you get when you wake up feeling refreshed and renewed after getting a solid and undisturbed night’s sleep? Overall, your body emerges from a restorative night of sleep feeling stronger and healthier and now research has revealed that getting the proper amount of sleep is key to boosting the brain’s memory and learning abilities. 

Sleep promotes connections between neurons
A study jointly conducted by researchers from Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School and New York University's Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine examined how sleep is essential in assisting the brain to form and store memories. 

According to Tech Times, researchers tracked the differences and changes in mouse memory during sleep and waking hours. The mice were trained to walk both forwards and backwards on a moving rod. Then some of the mice slept for seven hours and others were not allowed to sleep at all. 

The researchers observed that the brains of the mice that were allowed to sleep formed more connections between neurons, proving that improved learning and memory formation was correlated to the amount of uninterrupted sleep time allotted for the mice. 

"We've known for a long time that sleep plays an important role in learning and memory. If you don't sleep well, you don't learn well," senior investigator Wen-Biao Gan, a professor at the Skirball Institute told Tech Times, adding "Finding out sleep promotes new connections between neurons is new. Nobody knew this before." 

Improved recall and focus
According to Healthgrades, there are many ways that your brain benefits from getting a proper night’s sleep. Sleep helps to make information more accessible and less likely to be forgotten. Therefore, if your memory is weak, getting a good night's sleep might provide the boost needed to recall information that is difficult to remember.

Your brain creates synaptic connections between new information and previously stored memories as you learn. When you are fatigued, it's difficult for your brain to integrate new information. This is due to the fact that tiredness is known to have a negative impact on the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is essential for processing and storing new knowledge. Getting ample sleep enables your brain to properly process new information and learn better. 

Sleep also plays a critical part in turning experiences into long term memories, which is known as consolidation of memory. While you are asleep your brain is categorizing memories into distinct representations or overlapping representations. This process helps to create memory patterns that are recognizable. 

Better sleep for a better mood
There is an intrinsic connection between a person’s mood and how much sleep they are getting. Sleep deprivation can make you irritable and worried, increasing your likelihood of experiencing difficulty in contending with daily life challenges. If the condition is long term and chronic, for some it can lead to developing mental health conditions, like depression. 

Healthgrades reports that researchers observed people who slept for under five hours a night for a week. Without sufficient sleep, the people experienced mental exhaustion, sadness, and were more stressed and irritable. But when they resumed their regular sleeping schedules, their moods rapidly improved.

So, if you want to improve your memory, your ability to learn better and enhance your overall mood, try committing to a stable sleep schedule that will provide your brain with great ammunition to help you live a more balanced and focused life. 

Restful Sleep May Make People Kinder
7 Life Hacks for a Better Sleep
Tips to Calm a Restless Mind at Night