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We’ve all been there, your partner or co-worker asks you a simple question about something you did as little as last week and your mind draws a blank.

Not only is it embarrassing for yourself, but it’s questions like this that often open us up for jibes about being old and forgetful.

But what exactly causes our brains to become ‘leaky’ making it hard for us to remember certain events in our daily lives? Well memory, like many things, is directly associated with our sleep.

BrainWhen we sleep our bodies go through a vast array of processes and repairs so that when we wake the next morning we should be fired up and ready to tackle the day at the best of our abilities. One of these nightly tasks is for the area of our brains associated with memory, to organise and solidify our experiences from that day and file them away in our memories, ready for us to recall in future.

The problem is, that our body has thousands of processes to complete as we sleep, so the less sleep we have, then the less of our task list it can get through. Think of it like trying to get through a full day’s work in just a few hours, what would you do in that situation? Well, you would most likely prioritise the most important tasks, which is exactly what our bodies do. Things like organ and cell repair become the most important tasks while seemingly less important things, like our memory and collagen production for our skin and hair get pushed further down the list. Which is exactly why when we continuously get a poor night’s sleep our skin feels dull and lifeless and our minds become foggy.

This means a good, quality night’s sleep is essential if we want to both look and feel at our best as well as remembering as much of our day-to-lives as we can.

But these notions come down to more than just vanity and not wanting to be known as forgetful. Having a good memory is essential if we want to excel in our lives. It doesn’t matter if we have a high-powered job, are studying for an exam or you’re in charge of all the kids – the ability to quickly remember and organise the past in our heads is fundamental to making our lives easier.

If we have something like an exam, it can be tempting to stock up on caffeine and avoid sleep in order to cram in as much studying as you can before said exam. However, by skipping on the sleep, you are less likely to retain that information as your brain won’t commit it to memory properly. This means that although you remember it for your exam, come next week or month, the material you learned for that particular exam will have leaked away, when if you slept properly while studying, it could have committed itself to your permanent memory, which can be useful in future exams. As, when you sleep well, your brain will ‘file’ similar information together, which allows your mind to couple memories into a concept or idea – something which can lead to greater understanding of subjects.

And this idea of concept building into just for studying, it can help people in all walks of lives to succeed at their goals far easier. May it be for advancing yourself in work or ensuring you feel relaxed at night because you feel organised and in charge, by getting yourself a good night’s sleep you are doing your mind a world of favours. Plus, you may never be known as the forgetful one again. 

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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