Quality Sleep is Needed for Memory and Learning

February 19, 2009 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Quality Sleep is Needed for Memory and Learning
When teachers watch grades plummet they invariably know something stressful is going on in that student's life. That is because the inflammation resulting from the problems is disturbing sleep – and a good night's sleep is now turning out to be the key to memory and learning.

When you take in new information it is held in short term memory circuits for a period of time – like looking up a phone number and then making a call. However, getting that information more integrated into longer term memory is a more complex task.

Researchers have identified for the first time, at the cellular level, how changes in brain gene switches1 that only occur during sleep enable your brain to integrate and consolidate information.

This is actually a profound discovery and applies to the very nature of how your brain can learn any new behavior as well as general information. The researchers identified that this sleep system is central to brain plasticity – meaning how well you can actually change your ways – whether we are taking about learning or behavior in general.

Quality of sleep is key. Brain building nutrients like phosphatidylserine, taken before bed, may give your learning or ability to change a successful nutritional boost to enhance your sleep response. Of course, nutrients and a lifestyle that simply help you sleep better are your basics.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Sleep, Memory, and Learning  Neuron  Sara J. Aton, Julie Seibt, Michelle Dumoulin, Sushil K. Jha, Nicholas Steinmetz, Tammi Coleman, Nirinjini Naidoo, Marcos G. Frank.

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