Health Challenges How poor sleep affects learning and memory.

How poor sleep affects learning and memory.


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As we all know, good night sleep is essential to us for our wellbeing, and it makes us feel better and healthy. Not only does good sleeping habit gives our body the time to rest, but it also helps the brain to learn and memorise.

sleeping habit and how it affect memory and learning
sleeping habit and how it affect memory and learning

For those of us who burn down the midnight candle to read and cram in the midnight and forget to have a proper sleep, we might found out that the next day we might fully remember anything we learnt and crammed during the night. This happens because without proper sleep, during the night, your brains become foggy, your fine motor skills hindered and your judgement is poor.

While we sleep, or body rests, and our brains become busy processing information from the daily activities and create them into memories.

When we deprive ourselves of sleep, our body is at risk of developing serious health issues which include:


It also hinders the ability of the brain to learn and process and retain new information.

Power of a good sleeping habit

Studies from imaging and behavioural studies show that a good sleeping habit plays an important role in learning and memory in two ways

•Having a good night rest is essential to make you have a retentive memory and recall it in future.

• Lack of sleep hinders one ability to concentrate and learn effectively.

How memories are formed.

There are many types of memories. Some of the memories are based on

• Episodic: based on events in your life, example the time when you gained admission into the higher institution that has been your dreams.

• Fact-based: such as remembering the name of your country President.

Other memories are instructional or procedural such as learning how to drive a car.
For a memory to be actualized, these three functions must be achieved, they include:

Acquisition: experiencing and learning something new.

Consolidation: the brain retains the memory acquired.

Recall: the ability of the brain to access the memory in the future.

The acquisition and recall of what you have learnt are the functions that happen when we are awake. But researchers believe that sleep is what is required to make the memory stable in the brain. This is so because, without good and enough sleep, the brains experience a hard time in absorbing and recalling the new information.

Studies show that when you have a good bed rest in the night or a nap during the day, you tend to perform better whether in the office, on the athletic field or in a concert hall.

Do you know that sleep does not only help sharpen your brain and mind, but it also enhances your judgement, physical reflexes and fine motor skills?

How sleep helps your mind.

• Enhanced attention: when you have a good night rest, your brain will be able to function correctly and focus, and you will be able to respond to questions and things happening around you quickly.

• Easy learning: an adequate sleep will help you in learning efficiently, and you can master a new assignment effectively. Good sleep can also help sharpen your knowledge of fact-based and complex information. Your brain tends to function better.

• Excellent problem-solving skills: your brains become more creative and can innovate new ideas and project better when you had an adequate sleep than when you deprive yourself sleep trying to think about a new idea.
Some of us might have this occurrence when you wake up in the morning, and you have new ideas on how to do something better and effectively.

• Improved retentive memory: a good night rest can help you remember and recall information gotten from the previous day and even help you to speed up the way you think quickly.

Consequences of lack of sleep

Consequences of poor sleep are classified into two, which include:

The short-term
The long-term

The short-term include

• Poor quality of life: unable to fully participate in certain activities that might require your full attention, such as seeing a movie, watching your favourite Tv show.

• Sleeping more than usual at the wrong time,
and at the wrong place.

• Sleeping while driving which might get you into an accident.

• It will also lead to poor performance and alertness during your daily activities.

• It may also decrease the ability of you to think and process information.

The long-term consequences include the following

• Heart attack.
• Heart failure.
• High blood pressure.
• Obesity.
• Injury from accidents.
• Depression and mood swings.
• Mental impairment.
• Stroke.
• Fetal and childhood retardation.

Tips for a good sleep

• Go to sleep early and wake up at the same time.
• Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine before you go to bed.
• Get a regular exercise but don’t exercise close to bedtime.
• Make out time to take a warm bath before you to sleep,\
• Eat your dinner two to three hours before you go to bed.
• Have a good and comfortable sleeping environment, make the room dark, well ventilated, free from mosquitos and comfortable.
• Don’t watch Tv or use your computer in bed.
• Block unwanted sounds from your bedroom. You can achieve that by making use of your sound system or any other devices you might have.

Sleeping positions that prevents back pain

We should know that sleep is our friend. I know that maintaining a good healthy lifestyle can be tiring when it comes to getting quality and regular sleep and we have a deadline in our office or test in school to finish a particular task.

We should always remember we need that good sleep to function effectively especially when it comes to learning and memory.

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