Relationship between Memory Loss and Sleep

Sleep gives your body time to rest and recharge. Sleep is also crucial to your brain’s ability to learn and remember. If you continuously cannot get a good night’s sleep, your memory can be negatively affected. Let’s take a look at how much memory loss is impacted by sleep loss.

The Power of Sleep

Imaging and behavioral studies continue to show the critical role sleep plays in learning and memory. Researchers believe that sleep affects learning and memory in two ways:

  • Lack of sleep impairs a person’s ability to focus and learn efficiently
  • Sleep is necessary to consolidate a memory so that it can be recalled in the future


There are several different types of memories. Some are fact-based and some are based on events in your life. Sleep fuels all kinds of memory function and allows these thoughts to become memories in the first place. For something to become a memory, these three functions need to happen:

  • Acquisition – learning or experiencing something new
  • Consolidation – the memory becomes stable in the brain
  • Recall – having the ability to access the memory in the future

Researchers believe that sleep is needed to consolidate a memory, regardless of the memory type. Without this step, memories are not possible.

Sleep and the Body

Sleep does more than sharpen the mind. Studies show that sleep affects physical reflexes, fine motor skills, and judgment. While scientists are still researching specifics about how sleep enhances memory, they do know that sleep positively affects the hippocampus and neocortex, which are the parts of the brain where long-term memories are stored. During sleep, the hippocampus replays the events of the day for the neocortex, where it reviews and processes memories, helping them to last for the long term.

Sleep is a biological necessity and we need it to survive. Unfortunately, in this day and age, few of us are able to get the sleep we need to function our best. Experts recommend adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Although this may not be possible every night, it should be the goal.

Contact Reliable MD Today!

At Reliable MD, we are sleep experts. We specialize in sleep apnea, narcolepsy, nightmare disorder, REM sleep, and sleep studies. We know how important sleep is, and we have the knowledge and tools to help improve your sleep health. Click here or give us a call at 727-203-4613.

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