In an effort to make global community take advantage of sleep as a strategy to improve wellbeing, scientists have alerted that getting enough sleep helps consolidate long-term memory. According to a report from the National Sleep Foundation journal, ‘Sleep Health’, the brain makes a lot of connections during the day, but not all of them are worth saving; so sleep is a time in which the brain streamlines the connections it “needs.”
The report, which updates previous sleep recommendations, showed that although businesses and policy makers may be interested in the financial repercussions of sleep deprivation, these repercussions stem from people being unwell because of it, which underlines the very real consequences of sleep deprivation.
Most people have probably observed the phenomenon whereby sleep helps them remember things they have learned during the day. And studies have borne this out. “In one study, participants had to learn a motor routine (tapping buttons in a certain order).
When learning the task and recalling the task were separated by a night of sleep, rather than the same amount of time during waking hours, the participants did much better. The theory is that the brain consolidates the memories it needs, but prunes back the ones it doesn’t. And research has shown that the brain tends to weaken the connections that form the memories that the brain deems unimportant.
The report stated that toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer’s disease, are cleared during sleep. “One of the most illuminating discoveries in the last few years is that the brain clears out toxins much more rapidly while one is asleep than when awake.” In his reaction, the Director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Health System and Professor of Clinical Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Michael Thorpy, said:“I think some of the most exciting work is on the glymphatic system,” adding, “There’s a lot of new research in this area in the last few years.
The lymphatic system of the brain opens up at night, and removes toxins while we’re asleep.” Sleep deprivation can affect everything from cognition to attention to decision-making, the report added. According to the researchers, although the body doesn’t technically need sleep in the same way the brain does, there are a number of physical diseases and disorders it seems to affect.