Does Sleep Deprivation Cause Memory Loss?

A good night’s sleep can make you feel better. When it comes to memory, sleep is essential. Too little or too much of sleep can affect your brain in later life. Your body gets time to recharge and rest when you go to sleep. This is crucial to your brain’s ability to remember things.

Different Kinds of Memories

Humans have different kinds of memories.

  • Fact-Based – Remembering the names of different state capitals.
  • Episodic – Based on different events in your life.
  • Procedural or instructional – Playing the piano or riding the bike.

Three functions need to occur for things to become a memory.

  1. Acquisition – Experiencing or learning something new.
  2. Consolidation – Memory stabilizes in the brain.
  3. Recall – Ability to recall the memory in the future.

Recall and acquisition are functions that occur when you are awake. Sleep consolidates the memory. If you don’t get adequate sleep, the brain has a hard time absorbing and recalling any new information. Sleep not just affects fine motor skills and physical reflexes, it affects judgment too.

People deprived of regular sleep are likely to have diabetics, high blood pressure and narrowed blood vessels. This can reduce blood flow inside the brain. Cells in the brain need lots of oxygen, and if the blood doesn’t flow normally, it affects the functioning of the brain.

Tips for Getting Better Sleep

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine. Try going to sleep and waking up at the same time.
  • Avoid watching television in bed. Ensure that your bedroom is quiet and dark. Earplugs or sleep mask are a good way to get quality sleep.
  • Avoid coffee, nicotine, and alcohol before going to sleep.
  • Eat dinner two to three hours before going to bed.
  • Exercise regularly, so that you can relax your mind before going to bed.

When you get quality sleep and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will be able to avoid memory loss.