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May 25, 2008

Sleep And Memory Relationship

Posted in: Health

There are a lot of new researches and technological advancements are being made so that we can learn a lot of things from them and know what are the things are affecting our lives greatly and how we can improve them. This article will be focused on the relationship between sleep and memory, as there are evidences that the sleep affects memory and this can truly bring a huge change in the lives of people who are complaining of affected memory. In this article we are also going to discuss the different phases of sleep and their significance so that we can better understand the sleep patterns.

We all know that our sleep has two phases, one is known as Non-REM and the other is REM, whereas REM stands for rapid eye movements. It is being understood that the rapid eye movement sleep is a phase in which there are a lot of functions that are performed, which include development and restoration of the brain, synthesis of the neuro-proteins, as well as the coordination of the eye movements. To better understand REM we can learn that it is a phase that of sleep that occurs late in the sleep cycle and in this the brain and the body both become pretty active and in this phase there is also increase in the heart rate and the blood pressure. You might have seen people who while sleeping are moving their eyes pretty fast and you can know that they are in the rapid eye movement phase. It is in this phase that there is increase in heart rate as well.

If there is EEG, which is electroencephalography performed in the individuals who are going through a rapid eye movement, we will see that there brain wave patterns are very much alike a person who is awake and in these waveforms are a lot of beta rhythms. This period of sleep is also known as the dream phase where the individual is seeing the dream and this is the phase where the most dreams occur. The scientists Roffwarg and Musio, as well as Dement were the first ones who suggested that the rapid and repetitive firing of the neurons during the rapid eye movement sleep is associated with the growth of neurons, as well as their development. This concept then lead the foundation of the theory of dynamic stabilization in which it was mentioned that the information, which is either inherited or learned is being consolidated during the repetitive firing of the neurons in rapid eye movement sleep, which can have the same effect on memory as function use. It was also being proposed in this theory that the rapid eye movement sleep also increases the activity of the circuitry in the brain that usually remains dormant during wakeful period and these memories are something that we do not think on a constant basis but these memories become alive in the rapid eye movement sleep.

The researchers have done a lot of experiments on animals to see the link between the rapid eye movement sleep and memory. In an experiment it was seen that the rats that were subjected to learn tasks demonstrated increased rapid eye movement sleep after the tests and this showed that the learning induces the rapid eye movement sleep and it was also found that the rats who were given the tasks to learn went into rapid eye movement sleep at a very fast pace and were the ones who had gone through extra learning trials. Therefore it was concluded that the rapid eye movement consolidates the learning.

There was another experiment in which the scientists just paired the audible tones during the rapid eye movements in sleep of rats and when these audible tones were played during their wakefulness periods it showed that the rats were displaying the same learned behavior and it showed that those tones became a part of the memory and were displayed during the wakeful period. Therefore the individuals who have deprivation of rapid eye movement are the ones who show lack in memory and also perform poor in the memory tests of recall and logical tasks. Therefore the students who go through extensive studying during their examination must have good hours of sleep so that the information that they are going through becomes a consolidated part of their memory and if they will not go through a good night sleep then they will find that their memory will be affected and the knowledge that they have been going through from the books will be affected and will not be structured as they had learned them and will be lost in patches and will not be completely consolidated.

Therefore there are very strong evidences through these experiments that sleep aids memory and when a person goes through learning information in a day and that is combined with adequate sleep, then that individual is more likely to remember that information for a longer period of time. There were a lot of other experiments conducted by different researchers and in an another experiment there were about 60 healthy individuals who were sleeping at night and these individuals were asked to remember about 20 pairs of random words that include blanket and village.

One of the groups were given time to learn from nine in the morning till nine at night and they were not allowed to take any naps. There was another group who were given the words and they started to learn them from nine in the night and were given a time till nine in the morning and it was found that the individuals who slept for the night were the ones who were able to simply outperform their counter parts. The statistics showed that there were about 94 percent of the individuals who slept for the entire night recalled the words accurately whereas the other group made to about 82 percent who were able to recall the paired words.

Therefore through these different researches it has been very clear that a lot of people who are experiencing a decline in memory must have a good night rest and they will see that their memory will start to get better along with time and they will see that they have actually made a great deal of improvement in terms of remembering things that are of great importance that we have to do every single day.


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