How to improve your memory with sleep – lifehack

Many of us struggle to get enough sleep every night, but is the sleep we get any good? While it’s important to get enough sleep, better sleep is a greater ally than more hours of sleep. We sat down with a sleep expert and a stack of studies to help you get a better night’s sleep and need less in the process. Here’s how.

This post was originally published in 2013. In honor of World Sleep Day , today we’re reviving this old feature on how to get better z’s.

Most of Us Have a Hard Time Getting Enough Sleep in the First Place

Let’s make sure we’re on the same page from the start: You need sleep, and odds are, you may not be getting enough as it is. This guide will help you improve the quality of your sleep, so you can survive on less, but it’ll be useless if you don’t know how much sleep is right for you to begin with. The truth is, each of us needs a different amount of sleep to be productive, and the whole “8 hours” thing is more of a guideline than a rule. In fact, some research suggests that sleeping too much can actually be harmful to your health. Photo by Toshiyuki IMAI .

We’ve discussed how to get on a good sleep schedule and ditch a dysfunctional relationship with sleeping, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, make sure to follow that guide first. Our goal in this post is to walk you through improving the sleep that you get to the point where you can fine tune and dial back the amount that you get to match what you really need. You’ll spend less time tossing and turning, and more time getting truly restful sleep.

How to Reboot Your Sleep Cycle

Nothing can stand in for a good night’s sleep, so instead of discussing how we might scrape by with

Why Better Sleep is More Important than More Sleep

We frequently hear about the dangers of too little sleep , but there’s also research to suggest too much sleep is a problem too . One study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research concluded that quality of sleep is more important than quantity of sleep when it comes to feeling rested and rejuvenated.

How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need?

The general rule of thumb for what counts as a full night’s sleep has been eight hours for as long…

So where does that leave us? First, start tracking your sleep , and find your perfect bedtime . There are great apps that can help . Eight hours of sleep is worthless if you spend all of it tossing and turning, or you only sleep for about 3-4 hours of it. Trying to fix poor sleep habits by going to bed earlier is like trying to lose weight by spending more time at the gym without actually changing the duration of your workout. Once you’ve learned to optimize your time, you’ll see better results.

How I Achieved Better Sleep with the Help of Technology

Once upon a time—a very long time—I used to sleep well. After too many restless nights, I decided…

The Keys to Better, Quality Sleep

Optimizing your sleep depends heavily on three things: preparation (building good sleep habits), environment (tweaking your surroundings for optimal sleep), and timing (getting the sleep you need when you need it). We sat down with Dr. Nitun Verma, MD, a Stanford University trained specialist in sleep medicine and Medical Director of the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders in Fremont , to come up with some tips to help you improve the quality of your sleep so you’ll need less in the long-term. Photo by Joi Ito .

Preparation

The first step is to build the habits that will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and be more comfortable while you rest. For example:

  • Exercise regularly. The goal here isn’t to wear yourself out, but The National Sleep Foundation has said exercise in the afternoon can improve sleep in the evening . Specifically, morning or afternoon exercise helps you fall asleep faster with less trouble. Just be sure not to exercise right before bed, as that had the opposite effect.
  • Set a kinder, gentler alarm. Ditch your incredibly loud, annoying alarm clock and try something new that will make waking up easier and more natural. Grab an alarm clock app that will wake you to music or soothing sounds, or try a wake-up light that slowly rises the light level in the room as you approach your wake-up time.
  • Ditch the alcohol, cut out the caffeine, and watch the cigarettes. This one study , published in 1994, approached all three topics, and concluded that alcohol can be relaxing and help you get to sleep, but it’s damaging to the sleep cycle once you’re out. The end result is a choppy, restless night where you wake more frequently than you would. Caffeine has a different effect. It lengthens the 2nd phase of your sleep cycle (where your brain starts reorganizing itself and processing the day)—which is great for naps, but not for a night of deep sleep. Caffeine shortens phases three and four, where REM sleep and dreaming occur. Cigarettes on the other hand, or specifically nicotine, can be relaxing in small doses, but too much keeps you awake and prevents the onset of sleep entirely.

How to improve your memory with sleep - lifehack

Sleep can decrease stress and lower the risk of certain health problems, as well as boost your mood (via Health.gov). Adequate sleep can also improve your memory, per the American Psychological Association.

According to the Sleep Foundation, the first stages of sleep are light NREM sleep, followed by deep NREM sleep. During this time, the brain selects certain memories, and the thalamus sends cues to the cerebral cortex, which interprets information from the memories.

“When we first form memories, they’re in a very raw and fragile form,” Dr. Robert Stickgold, a sleep expert from Harvard Medical School, told NIH News in Health. “During a night of sleep, some memories are strengthened.” This includes memories of procedures, which can also be enhanced while dozing. NIH News in Health noted that this includes, say, how to play an instrument, while the Department of Neuroendocrinology at the University of Lübeck found that it could apply to a student being able to recall vocabulary, per Learning & Memory.

Ensuring you get enough sleep for improved memory

How to improve your memory with sleep - lifehack

On the other hand, not getting enough sleep can have negative effects on recollection. The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging looked at the relationship between chronic insomnia and cognitive functions, via EurekAlert!. It found that those suffering from the condition were more likely to experience cognitive problems — especially anything having to do with declarative memory, which covers concepts, events, and facts.

That being said, it is imperative to get enough rest. Healthline‘s tips and tricks for getting in some solid rest quickly and easily include adjusting a room’s temperature, keeping to a schedule, listening to relaxing music, and getting in the right sleep position.

Healthline also reports that memory can be improved by meditating, eating less sugar, and taking things like curcumin and a fish oil supplement. So in order to effectively remember lessons, steps, dates, and more, try out these strategies and get in enough zzzs!

How to Improve Your Memory While You Sleep

More than a quarter of Americans have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and over two-thirds struggle with sleep at least once a week. For these people, listening to white noise can help.

However, a different device has arrived on the scene that may be even more effective than white noise devices. Not only does it increase the time spent in deep sleep, it dramatically improves memory and may even stave off dementia.

Move over white noise, pink noise is here.

Like white noise, pink noise consists of all the various frequencies that humans can hear, from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz.

But unlike white noise, where the energy is distributed equally across the sound spectrum, pink noise is more intense at lower frequencies.

Pink noise is found plentifully in nature, such as the sound of falling rain, rustling leaves or gentle ocean waves. White noise, on the other hand, is the crackling radio or television static you hear when the device is tuned to an unused channel. It can help you fall asleep faster by drowning out loud sounds that stimulate the brain and keep you awake.

Relieves Stress, Deepens Sleep

Pink noise’s effects on sleep weren’t known until the early 1990s, when Japanese researchers carried out several studies. These showed pink noise can induce and deepen sleep. The scientists suggested pink noise might be useful for people who suffer insomnia caused by work-related stress.

Almost 20 years passed before researchers from China picked up the gauntlet, comparing the effect of pink noise against no noise in 40 subjects. They found steady pink noise reduced brain wave complexity, induced more stable sleep and improved sleep quality.

Several other studies showed pulses of pink noise improved memory in young adults. This led neurologists from the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, to wonder whether the same benefit would occur in older adults.

Triples Ability to Recall Words

One of the reasons older folks are at greater risk of memory impairment is because they tend to get less deep sleep, or slow wave sleep.

This is the deepest phase of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, where dreaming occurs. It’s also important for memory consolidation. Pink noise is believed to be more valuable in inducing this form of sleep, and therefore, beneficial to memory.

To test this, in 2017, the Feinberg team enrolled 13 volunteers aged 60 and older to receive one night of acoustic stimulation and one night of sham stimulation (or no stimulation). Before each session they took memory tests and then again, the following morning.

The findings were dramatic. Compared to sham, pink noise tripled the ability to recall words.

Senior author, professor Phyllis Zee, said, “This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health. This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline.”

Improves Memory in the Cognitively Impaired

Two years later the Feinberg team followed this up with a study in nine people with the average age 72, who suffered from mild cognitive impairment. It was similar to the first experiment except that it took place over two nights one week apart.

The researchers found that acoustic stimulation increased slow wave activity within the brain by at least ten percent compared to sham—or no— stimulation.

Some participants experienced a sizable 40 percent increase in slow wave activity from pink noise and recalled nine more words in the word test. Others experienced a 20 percent increase in slow wave activity and recalled two more words in the word test.

Prof. Zee’s colleague, RonellMalkani, explained, “Our findings suggest slow-wave or deep sleep is a viable and potentially important therapeutic target in people with mild cognitive impairment. The results deepen our understanding of the importance of sleep in memory, even when there’s memory loss.

“These results suggest that improving sleep is a promising novel approach to stave off dementia.

“As a potential treatment, this would be something people could do every night.”

Should You Use Pink Noise?

The studies of pink noise to date are very small and the findings need to be confirmed in larger, longer and more robust trials.

What’s more, these scientists used a new scientific pink noise device. It read an individual’s brain waves in real time and locked in the gentle sound stimulation during a precise moment of neuron communication during deep sleep, which varies for each person.

Scientists hope to make this new technology available for home use, but they’re not ready to roll it out just yet.

Even so, for those who suffer with sleep problems it may be worth listening to ordinary pink noise at bedtime. Various sound machines, streaming services and smartphone apps that play pink noise are available.

Medically Reviewed by

Scientists and researchers have studied the relationship between memory and sleep for more than 100 years. The general consensus today is that memory consolidation – the process of preserving key memories and discarding excessive information – takes place during both the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) stages of your sleep cycle.

Recent studies also suggest that insufficient and excessive sleep can affect memory processing and other cognitive processes. A good night’s rest not only promotes good physical health but also enables our brains to function properly, so getting the recommended amount of sleep each night is key to consolidating memories.

How Are Memory and Sleep Connected?

Sleep and memory share a complex relationship. Getting enough rest helps you process new information once you wake up, and sleeping after learning can consolidate this information into memories, allowing you to store them in your brain.

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During these NREM stages, the brain also sorts through your various memories from the previous day, filtering out important memories and eliminating other information. These selected memories will become more concrete as deep NREM sleep begins, and this process will continue during REM sleep. Emotional memories are also processed in the REM stage, which can help you cope with difficult experiences.

Most dreaming occurs in REM sleep. The thalamus of the brain transmits cues from your five senses to the cerebral cortex, a thin layer of the cerebrum that interprets and processes information from your memories. The thalamus is largely inactive during NREM stages, but when REM sleep begins, it will relay images, sounds, and other sensations to the cerebral cortex that are then integrated into your dreams.

How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Brain Function and Memory?

People who don’t get enough sleep may experience the effects of sleep deprivation. Difficulty remembering things is one common symptom. Since the brain does not have sufficient time to create new pathways for the information you’ve recently learned, sleep deprivation often affects how memories are consolidated. Other potential cognitive impacts include trouble learning and focusing, reduced decision-making skills, and poor emotional and behavioral control.

How much sleep you should get each night largely depends on your age. In addition to adults, studies have concluded children experience stronger memory consolidation after a good night’s sleep. That said, excessive sleep can also lead to cognitive impairments. Every person should strive for the optimal amount of nightly sleep, as too little or too much can have negative repercussions.

Our recommendations for nightly sleep based on age are as follows:

Age Group Age Range Recommended Amount of Sleep per Day
Newborn 0-3 months 14-17 hours
Infant 4-11 months 12-15 hours
Toddler 1-2 years 11-14 hours
Preschool 3-5 years 10-13 hours
School-age 6-13 years 9-11 hours
Teen 14-17 years 8-10 hours
Young Adult 18-25 years 7-9 hours
Adult 26-64 years 7-9 hours
Older Adult 65 years or older 7-8 hours

Some studies have found sleep quality decreases with age. This is tied to slow-wave sleep. Slow waves are produced in an area of the brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex. The medial prefrontal cortex will deteriorate over time, and as a result, older people typically experience less slow-wave sleep during a normal sleep cycle and have a harder time processing memories.

Sleep Apnea and Memory Loss

Since sleep is so crucial to the formation and consolidation of memories, some sleep disorders are associated with memory problems. Insomnia, defined as persistent difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, is known to cause daytime cognitive impairments including reduced memory functioning. Sleep disorders that lead to excessive daytime sleepiness such as narcolepsy can cause memory lapses.

One disorder, sleep apnea, may actually promote memory loss. Sleep apnea is characterized by the temporary cessation of the airway during sleep that can cause people to choke or gasp for air. Heavy snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness are other common symptoms of sleep apnea.

More than 900 million people across the globe live with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a subtype of the disorder that occurs when a physical blockage impedes the airway. OSA has long been linked to chronic depression. People with depression often have a difficult time processing memories, specifically autobiographical memories that pertain to their own experiences. People with OSA have also demonstrated difficulty with memory consolidation.

One study sought to explore the relationship between OSA and depression in terms of memory processing. The findings show subjects with OSA struggled more to form semantic memories, or individual facts from their personal history, than the control group. This is not surprising since healthy sleep is needed to properly consolidate semantic memories, and OSA causes sleep fragmentation that interferes with the sleep cycle. Interestingly, OSA did not affect the consolidation of episodic memories – or those related to events and experiences – to the same extent.

These results suggest sleep apnea can interfere with the memory consolidation process, causing people to have a hard time recalling certain memories of their own life. However, more research is needed to explore whether OSA leads to both depression and memory problems, or if OSA and depression independently affect memory consolidation.

John Axelsson, Karolinska Institutet and Tina Sundelin, Stockholm University

How to improve your memory with sleep - lifehack

Some people swear by an afternoon nap – whether it’s to catch up on lost sleep or to help them feel more alert for the afternoon ahead. Even Boris Johnson supposedly favours a power nap during his work day (though the U.K prime minister’s staffers contest this claim). Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo Da Vinci were all famous nappers.

But while many of us may not feel we usually have enough time to squeeze a nap into our day, working from home during the pandemic may now afford us an opportunity to give napping a try.

Napping is a great way to feel more rested and alert – and some research shows it can benefit our cognitive function. However, you may want to consider how long you have to sleep before heading to bed for your midday nap.

If you need to be alert right after waking up (for example, if you’re catching a few extra minutes of sleep during your lunch break), so-called “power naps” of 10-30 minutes are recommended. Longer naps may cause some initial drowsiness – though they keep sleepiness at bay longer. But drinking coffee directly before a nap may help you wake up without feeling drowsy while also boosting your alertness.

While short naps are great for increasing energy, longer naps are both more restorative and beneficial for learning. For example, they improve activation of the hippocampus – an area of the brain important for learning and memory. A one to two-hour afternoon nap is shown to benefit both your motor skills and your ability to recall facts and events.

A recent study from China has even suggested that regular afternoon napping is linked to better cognitive function in older adults. The researchers asked 2,200 over-70s about their napping habits before having them undergo a series of cognitive tests which measured things like memory and language skills. They found that those who usually napped were less likely to have cognitive impairments than those who didn’t. This was true regardless of age or level of education.

But nap length may play a role here – a similar study showed that those who usually napped for 30-90 minutes had better overall cognition compared to those who napped for longer or shorter, or who didn’t nap at all.

Why naps work

The reasons why short naps are so beneficial for alertness and focus are not well understood. It’s possible that napping helps the brain clean up sleep-inducing waste products that would otherwise inhibit brain activity, and that they replenish the brain’s energy stores. Short naps may also help improve your attention by letting particularly sleepy areas of the brain recover, thereby preventing instability in the brain’s networks.

Longer naps, on the other hand, are more restorative partly because there is time to enter multiple sleep stages, each of which supports different learning processes. For example, during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the brain is almost as active as when awake. This activity in different brain regions – including those important for learning and memory – may be why REM sleep supports both long-term memory and emotional memory.

During REM sleep in particular, the brain strengthens newly developed connections that are important for improvements in motor skills. Longer sleep also reduces unimportant connections, and this balance can improve how quickly and effectively the brain works as a whole.

Non-REM sleep – the sleep stage we spend most of our time in – contains both slow brain waves and sleep spindles. The sleep spindles are periodic burst-like signals between different brain areas, which are believed to reactivate and consolidate memories. Both the slow brain waves and the spindles increases plasticity – the brain’s ability to learn and adapt to new experiences.

Although napping has many positive short-term effects, they are not recommended for people who suffer from insomnia. Because naps decrease sleepiness, they may make it harder to fall asleep when going to bed in the evening. Naps should also be avoided in situations where optimal performance are needed instantly afterwards, as it may take some time to fully wake up.

Other research has shown that frequent napping was related to high BMI and high blood pressure. Napping was more common in shift workers, retired people, and smokers, and in people with genes related to sleep disorders or obesity. To what degree napping was harmful or beneficial for these groups remains unknown, but it’s clear that napping is more common in groups who have disturbed sleep or need more sleep.

If you’re finding that your attention span is wavering in the afternoon while working from home, perhaps try squeezing a nap into your lunch break. Short naps are great at improving alertness and attention – and if you have time for a longer nap, this can support memory and learning.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

It doesn’t take an extraordinary brain to get smarter about remembering. From techniques used by memory champions to fundamentals like securing enough sleep and maintaining healthy behaviors, just about anyone who wants to learn more efficiently has a variety of tools at their disposal—some of which they have likely already used.

On This Page

  • Memory Tricks
  • Everyday Memory Boosts

Memory Tricks

While simply revisiting a newly learned fact, the definition of a word, or some other information can help reinforce someone’s memory for it, additional tools and processes can help make the effort to retain those details more powerful.

  • Mnemonic devices are ways of enhancing memory that can involve elaboration—connecting what one is trying to remember to other information in memory—organizing to-be-remembered details more efficiently in memory, and making use of mental visualization. Examples of mnemonics include:

• forming a series of word s into an acronym (such as ROY G BIV, for the colors of the rainbow) or a series of letters into an acrostic (Elephants And Donkeys Got Big Ears, for the notes of each string on a guitar, E-A-D-G-B)

• grouping to-be-remembered items together into categories (such as several types of food, when remembering what to buy at the grocery store)

• creating a memory palace : visualizing a series of objects, events, or other things appearing in a familiar physical space (such as a room at home), where each one represents something to be remembered; also called the method of loci

  • Paying closer attention to details in the moment can make it easier to remember them later. People can learn to focus better; mindfulness techniques may help. Minimizing distractions and avoiding multitasking while learning information could also help with remembering.
  • Spacing apart the time spent studying , rather than massing it together, tends to lead to better learning, according to research on the spacing effect . An example of spaced practice would be studying a topic once every day for relatively small blocks of time rather than spending a longer block of time studying on Friday. Accordingly, “cramming”—studying in one long, continuous period— can be an unhelpful study habit.
  • Testing memory of learned material , such as a passage of text, can enhance memory for that material—above and beyond re-reading, research indicates. The findings suggest that self-testing can help with learning , whether a person responds to self-generated questions or flashcards related to that information or questions provided by someone else (such as sample test questions in textbooks). Explaining a newly learned concept to oneself or someone else may also help reinforce memory for it.
  • Chunking is the combination of to-be-remembered pieces of information, such as numbers or letters, into a smaller number of units (or “chunks”), making them easier to remember. A simple example is the reduction of a phone number into three parts (which one might repeat to oneself in three bursts), though more complex forms of chunking are thought to help account for experts’ superior memory for certain kinds of information (such as chess positions).

Everyday Memory Boosts

Can someone deliberately improve their ability to remember over the long-term? While factors such as well-timed and sufficient sleep and physical activity can aid a neurologically healthy person’s memory ability, the evidence for approaches such as supplements or brain games is often mixed.

What are some basic ways to improve your memory ability in the long term?

In addition to a variety of strategies (such mnemonic devices and others mentioned above) to enhance your memory in the short term, striving to live a healthy and active lifestyle can help preserve memory ability over time. That means engaging in regular mental challenges, exercising routinely, getting enough sleep, and eating well. Reducing stress in daily life may also help to boost memory.

Can sleep help me remember?

Sleep is thought to play an important role in the consolidation of memories. There is evidence that people who sleep soon after studying new information are more likely to recall it later than those who study it and remain awake. Procedural memories (memory for physical skills, for example) as well as memories for experiences and for new knowledge, seem to benefit from sleep. Consequently, failing to prioritize sleep (or struggling with sleep for other reasons) may mean a missed chance for optimal memory consolidation.

Is exercise good for memory?

In addition to having longer-term benefits for memory ability, well-timed exercise may immediately boost memory for new information under some conditions. Research has found that moderate-to-high-intensity cardiovascular workout just before or after a learning period enhanced recall for the information learned.

Which foods help with memory?

Vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, olive oil, whole grains, fish, and other nutritious foods are elements of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet, which have been studied for their potential positive long-term effects on brain health. People who, over the course of several years, followed a diet blending elements of both showed reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, of which memory loss is one component. The same diet advises limiting consumption of red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, sweets, and fried or fast food.

Do brain training apps really work?

There is reason to be skeptical about “brain training” programs based on inconsistent evidence of their effectiveness at improving memory or other cognitive abilities. Apps that purport to train the brain often feature tasks used to exercise working memory, with the aim of increasing working memory capacity (which has been linked to intelligence) in order to produce broader cognitive improvements. While working memory training may at least temporarily enhance performance on working memory-related tasks, however, that does not mean the improvement carries over to other mental abilities.

Do nootropics improve memory?

A range of substances, both synthetic and naturally occurring, have been studied for their potential to improve cognitive function, including memory ability. There are certain kinds of medications that can be prescribed to help treat memory loss due to a disease. Supplements proposed to enhance memory in healthy people, however, which have varying degrees of evidence in their favor—often based on small studies—may have a modest impact, if any, on memory.

John Axelsson, Karolinska Institutet and Tina Sundelin, Stockholm University

How to improve your memory with sleep - lifehack

Some people swear by an afternoon nap – whether it’s to catch up on lost sleep or to help them feel more alert for the afternoon ahead. Even Boris Johnson supposedly favours a power nap during his work day (though the U.K prime minister’s staffers contest this claim). Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo Da Vinci were all famous nappers.

But while many of us may not feel we usually have enough time to squeeze a nap into our day, working from home during the pandemic may now afford us an opportunity to give napping a try.

Napping is a great way to feel more rested and alert – and some research shows it can benefit our cognitive function. However, you may want to consider how long you have to sleep before heading to bed for your midday nap.

If you need to be alert right after waking up (for example, if you’re catching a few extra minutes of sleep during your lunch break), so-called “power naps” of 10-30 minutes are recommended. Longer naps may cause some initial drowsiness – though they keep sleepiness at bay longer. But drinking coffee directly before a nap may help you wake up without feeling drowsy while also boosting your alertness.

While short naps are great for increasing energy, longer naps are both more restorative and beneficial for learning. For example, they improve activation of the hippocampus – an area of the brain important for learning and memory. A one to two-hour afternoon nap is shown to benefit both your motor skills and your ability to recall facts and events.

A recent study from China has even suggested that regular afternoon napping is linked to better cognitive function in older adults. The researchers asked 2,200 over-70s about their napping habits before having them undergo a series of cognitive tests which measured things like memory and language skills. They found that those who usually napped were less likely to have cognitive impairments than those who didn’t. This was true regardless of age or level of education.

But nap length may play a role here – a similar study showed that those who usually napped for 30-90 minutes had better overall cognition compared to those who napped for longer or shorter, or who didn’t nap at all.

Why naps work

The reasons why short naps are so beneficial for alertness and focus are not well understood. It’s possible that napping helps the brain clean up sleep-inducing waste products that would otherwise inhibit brain activity, and that they replenish the brain’s energy stores. Short naps may also help improve your attention by letting particularly sleepy areas of the brain recover, thereby preventing instability in the brain’s networks.

Longer naps, on the other hand, are more restorative partly because there is time to enter multiple sleep stages, each of which supports different learning processes. For example, during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the brain is almost as active as when awake. This activity in different brain regions – including those important for learning and memory – may be why REM sleep supports both long-term memory and emotional memory.

During REM sleep in particular, the brain strengthens newly developed connections that are important for improvements in motor skills. Longer sleep also reduces unimportant connections, and this balance can improve how quickly and effectively the brain works as a whole.

Non-REM sleep – the sleep stage we spend most of our time in – contains both slow brain waves and sleep spindles. The sleep spindles are periodic burst-like signals between different brain areas, which are believed to reactivate and consolidate memories. Both the slow brain waves and the spindles increases plasticity – the brain’s ability to learn and adapt to new experiences.

Although napping has many positive short-term effects, they are not recommended for people who suffer from insomnia. Because naps decrease sleepiness, they may make it harder to fall asleep when going to bed in the evening. Naps should also be avoided in situations where optimal performance are needed instantly afterwards, as it may take some time to fully wake up.

Other research has shown that frequent napping was related to high BMI and high blood pressure. Napping was more common in shift workers, retired people, and smokers, and in people with genes related to sleep disorders or obesity. To what degree napping was harmful or beneficial for these groups remains unknown, but it’s clear that napping is more common in groups who have disturbed sleep or need more sleep.

If you’re finding that your attention span is wavering in the afternoon while working from home, perhaps try squeezing a nap into your lunch break. Short naps are great at improving alertness and attention – and if you have time for a longer nap, this can support memory and learning.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Memory plays a significant role in our lives. Everything you see, hear, touch, smell, eat or do is stored in your memory. Your memory makes you who you are. But it doesn’t remain the same. Age greatly affects your memory. But there are many ways to keep the memory strong so you don’t have any problem even in old age. Ways to improve your memory:

How to improve your memory with sleep - lifehack

1.Play Brain Games

Keep your mind busy in solving puzzles or playing games like Sudoku or crossword puzzles. They are a good exercise for your memory. Your brain is used for daily life activities, so try something new to test it.

2.Take Exercise Regularly

It not only keeps your body in shape, but also protects you from memory loss and strengthens your memory.

3.Sleep Well

Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily. Lack of sleep can cause stress and depression, which can be bad for your memory. Make a schedule for your sleep and stick to it. Avoid caffeine because it suppresses the hormones that make you sleepy.

4.Keep Your Body Cholesterol Under Control

Cholesterol affects the blood flow in your body and mind. Foods high in fats increase the risk of memory loss and dementia. A normal cholesterol level is good for both body and memory.

5.Eat A Healthy Diet

Eat vegetables and fruits. Take foods that contain high amounts of Omega 3 and glucose. Drinking green tea and grape juice may improve your memory. An apple a day can also help keep your mind active.

6.Quit Multitasking

Multitasking seems quite useful in this age of modern technology, but it is not good for your memory. When you do more than one task at a time, your attention is divided and it is hard for your brain to learn and understand one thing completely.

7.Socialize Regularly

Stress, tension and depression can cause memory loss. A good way to get avoid them is social interaction. Healthy relationships with friends and family are good for your mental health. An active social life is part of the key to a good memory.

8.Take Medicines Only As Prescribed By Your Doctor

Medicines can affect your physical and mental health because they stay in the body for a long time. It is better to use medicines only in severe conditions as prescribed by the doctor.

9.Maintain the Iron Level Of Your Body

Iron is required for proper functioning of neurotransmitters, so keep a track of the iron level of your body.

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Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the The Verywell Mind Podcast.

Is it really possible to improve your memory? If you’ve ever found yourself forgetting where you left your keys or blanking out information on important tests then you have probably wished that your memory was a bit better. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do to help improve your memory.

Obviously, utilizing some sort of reminder system can help. Setting up an online calendar that sends reminders to your phone helps you keep track of all those appointments and meetings. Creating daily to-do lists can ensure that you don’t forget important tasks that need to be completed.

But what about all the important information that you need to actually cement into your long-term memory? It will take some effort and even involve tweaking or dramatically changing your normal study routine, but there are a number of strategies you can utilize to get more out of your memory.

Before your next big exam, be sure to check out some of these tried and tested techniques for improving memory. These 11 research-proven strategies can effectively improve memory, enhance recall, and increase retention of information.

Focus Your Attention

How to improve your memory with sleep - lifehack

Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order for information to move from your short-term memory into your long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music, and other diversions.

Getting rid of distractions might be a challenge, especially if you are surrounded by boisterous roommates or noisy children.

Set aside a short period of time to be alone.

Ask your roommates to give you some space or ask your partner to take the kids for an hour so you can focus on your work.