Why Sleep is Crucial for Forming Long-term Memory
Aug 16, 2013 - 9:17:19 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Why is improving sleep quality so important? In addition to the physical restorative properties of sleep, more and more research suggests that sleep may also be essential for learning and memory.
In a study published in the 2011 issue of Science, University of Washington researchers investigated the effects of sleep on memory in a breed of fruit flies that could be induced to sleep on demand. All of the flies went through a period of training but only some were then induced to sleep for four hours. The flies that slept formed long-term memories of the training while those that stayed awake did not.
Thus, sleep was a necessary component in committing the training to memory; studies on humans also show that sleep improves memory and performance.Just as obtaining quality sleep affords many benefits including memory formation, lack of sleep can have serious consequences on cognitive health.
A 2010 study published in Biological Psychiatry reported that chronic insomnia was correlated with a loss of brain volume. Analyzing the fMRI scans of participants with and without chronic insomnia, researchers found that insomniacs had smaller volumes of gray matter in three brain areas. The degree of loss increased as the severity of the insomnia increased. Sleep is absolutely essential to healthy living and as you will learn in our new book, getting a good night's rest can be achieved in a variety of ways.Interested in learning about other behaviors that contribute to healthy longevity?
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