According to new research, how well you sleep might play a role in how well your memory works. This new study suggests that when we sleep, our brain processes and consolidates information from the day’s events, allowing us to strengthen our relational memory.
Sleep is an essential part of our lives. It helps us focus, stay alert, and make sure our bodies are running correctly. But what many people don’t know is that sleep is also responsible for building relational memory. This means that we remember the relationships we formed during the day when we sleep.
Relational memory refers to the associations between people, objects, or events. This can include names with faces, where you left your car keys, or if you locked the door as you exited the house.
Previous research has determined that memory benefits from sufficient quality sleep. Still, this new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience describes the underlying mechanisms that strengthen relational memories during sleep.
The study’s authors developed an artificial model of two regions of the brain for the study. The regions included the thalamic (involved in earlier sensory processing) and the cortical (involved in memory, learning, and decision-making). Researchers used this model to simulate two central brain states, awake and deep sleep.
It was found that during sleep, the neurons responsible for building relational memory spontaneously fired in close temporal order. This phenomenon is called sleep replay, which triggers synaptic plasticity and leads to strong synaptic connections between neurons, strengthening memory.
“One important real-world impact of the study is in informing future studies of disease, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder,” said study author Maxim Bazhenov, Ph.D. “Studies have shown that people with these conditions perform worse on relational memory tasks and also have disrupted sleep, specifically slow-wave sleep.”
“Our study suggests that focusing on improving slow-wave sleep in order to alleviate some of the cognitive symptoms associated with these conditions may be a more fruitful path forward than focusing on the cognitive symptoms exclusively.”
Sleep and Memory
As this study shows, sleep is essential for the formation of relational memory. But ongoing sleep deficiency is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
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Memory can be affected by quality sleep, but other numerous factors can also take a toll on the ability of the brain to function at peak potential. The Smart Pill can help enhance cognitive function and memory through 9 ingredients that help support, nourish, and maximize brain health.
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