Sleep and Memory Linked

Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 5:57 pm

We all want to improve our memories – especially on those days we just can’t find our car keys… Research says better sleep might be all you need to improve memory. Sleep and memory have been linked in various studies throughout the years, for example we know that one of the functions of sleep is to “file” things that we have learned through the day into the appropriate “file cabinets” in our brain. This enables us to easily find the information when we need to recall it.

Scientists at Northwestern University are among the latest to show that the memory of a recently learned skill and the ability to perform that skill is enhanced by sleep. In the study the researchers had people learn to play two separate  musical pieces using visual symbols. After learning to play the tunes the research subjects took a 90 minute nap. While they were sleeping the researchers played only one of the two tunes. When the subject woke, researchers showed that the participants were able to replay the song that they had heard during their sleep with greater accuracy than the one that hadn’t been played.

Other recent studies have shown that students who slept shortly after memorizing two different sets of word pairs had better recall of the information they’d learned than those who stayed awake for several hours. Another project showed that children with obstructive sleep apnea had more difficulty with both short- and long-term memory recall than children without the sleep breathing disorder. This type of research shows us just how damaging poor sleep can be.

People experience poor sleep for lots of reasons. For example, people who have spouses that snore or spouses with obstructive sleep apnea experience disrupted sleep all night long! Not only is the sleep apnea and snoring damaging the health of the person with the problem, the disrupted sleep of the bed partner can lead to increases in blood pressure, weight gain, moodiness and memory issues. Resolving the snoring or sleep apnea allows both partners to get a complete night of sleep without interruptions.

For more information about oral appliances to treat snoring and sleep apnea please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation.

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Category: Dental Sleep Medicine

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