Does Sleep Help Store Memories?

brain stores memories when you sleep

It is widely believed that sleeping helps with memorization. This is why students frequently receive advice about getting enough sleep. But does science back this up?

Experts say that your brain stores memories when you sleep. Furthermore, they have found that this mechanism is a lot more active at a younger age. So what exactly happens in your brain during the night?

Memory Formation

How do we memorize new information? Adding things to your long-term memory is a very complex process. Sleep has a significant part in it because your brain stores memories when you sleep.

For an event to become a memory, your brain needs to go through a stage called consolidation. This means that the memory becomes stable in the brain. After consolidation, recall becomes a simple matter.

Consolidation happens both while you are awake and when you’re asleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your brain simply doesn’t have time to process memories. After all, it keeps receiving new information.

This is why sleep deprivation is a leading cause of memory loss. So if you are becoming forgetful, you might want to improve your sleeping habits.

Why Does This Change as You Age?

Memories are stored in the so-called deep sleep part of the brain. After the age of 65, this part of the brain becomes significantly less active. But the change is gradual and it can even start in your 30s or 40s.

Conclusion

The human brain stores memories when you sleep. Hence, it’s crucial to avoid sleep deprivation if you have to memorize something important. This process is slower for older adults because of natural changes in the brain structure.