Sleep is a major factor in your physical and mental health. Getting proper sleep supports healthy immune function, allows the body to repair, and improves mood. A new study has found that sleep also influences our ability to learn as we age.
Sleep and Memory
In this study, researchers looked at different brain states and how memories are encoded and how old memories are maintained when awake versus asleep. They gathered that sleep plays an important role in storing new memories and saving old memories by replaying them.
It’s suggested that during the sleep cycle both new and old memories are replayed, which prevents forgetting and increases your ability to recall them.
Sleep Protects Our Memories
While we sleep, our neurons will encode both old and new memories. As we learn new things each day, it’s possible for our older memories to be replaced. That’s where sleep comes in. It’s during sleep that the brain encodes our memories (long-term and new ones) allowing us both to coexist in the brain.
As we age, our level of participation in life depends on our ability to encode new memories and learn new things. Sleep impacts our ability to do both things, and in this way, can be thought of as having an impact on human intelligence. It’s through sleep that our brains allow us to learn from our experiences, to integrate new knowledge and to adapt to the world around us.
Hopefully these findings are enough to convince you to prioritize your sleep now and especially as you age.