How Sleep Affects Memory and Learning

A good night’s sleep is essential for learning new info and remembering it later.

When you’re trying to learn new information or study for a test, you might be tempted to stay up late and review the material again and again. Hello, cramming! It’s a popular tactic, but not a smart one. By burning the midnight oil, you’re doing yourself a disservice by sacrificing slumber. Check out all the cognitive benefits that getting a good night’s sleep can bring. 

Enhanced Attention:

If you wake up feeling well rested, you’ll have greater mental clarity and focus, and you’ll be able to respond faster to questions or stimuli. This is especially important for children to be able to pay attention in school thus increasing their overall performance. Even adults who do not get enough sleep at night may find it difficult to pay attention in meetings.

Learning Becomes Easier:

If you’re well rested, you’ll be able to master a new task (like learning how to play a song on the piano) more effectively than if you were sleep-deprived; this is known as procedural memory. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The stage of sleep with the highest brain activity. During this stage, you’ll have higher brain metabolism and often dream. There are spontaneous rapid eye movements and minimal body movement. It’s usually difficult to wake a sleeper during this stage.


Better Problem-Solving Skills:

After a good night’s sleep, you might wake up with a more creative idea for a project or solve a pesky problem.

Improved Recall:

A sound night’s sleep can help you better remember what you learned the day and speed up your thinking processes.

If you get enough quality sleep each night, you should be able to sustain alertness and focus for much of the day. If you don’t, you may struggle to function optimally at work, at home, or anywhere else—and you may not be as sharp, productive, or creative as you’d like to be.

How Sleep Affects Your Mood  

It’s not a fluke that you often wake up in a good mood after a blissful night’s sleep. While you get the proper amount of zzz’s, your body regulates the flow of feel-good brain chemicals, such as epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. So you have a better chance of waking up feeling refreshed, energized, positive, and confident. In other words, sleeping for the ideal number of hours can help you sidestep or minimize the moody blues.

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This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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