Feeling foggy and forgetful these days? One key to sharpening your memory may be reworking your sleep schedule so that you get more shut-eye since your brain works overtime while you’re in bed to help boost your ability to remember.
A healthy dose of sleep can help you…
Learn new skills.
Whether you’ve just been taught how to play piano or knit, getting enough shuteye will help cement what you learned, allowing you to perform better the next time that you sit in front of the keyboard or pick up a pair of needles. This may be because the new skills are transferred to more permanent regions of the brain while you sleep—especially if that sleep occurs soon after learning the new information. So take a nap shortly after your keyboard lesson. Even just 30 minutes of rest may help improve your memory of what you just learned.
Create long-term memories.
Your friend who remembers everything that she’s read, heard, or seen may just be a great sleeper. Think of it like this: When you’re awake, your mind takes little snapshots of your experiences—what you read while studying for a test, say, or meeting new coworkers for the first time. Then, after you drift off to dreamland, the brain replays those events like video clips and builds new neuron connections to turn the experiences into long-term memories that you’ll be able to recall at least six weeks later.
Improve your focus.
Ever have one of those days where you find yourself reading the same sentence or paragraph over and over—and you just can’t seem to concentrate properly? Not only is your memory given a boost while you sleep, but going into the day well rested will make it easier to stay attentive to your work and digest new information.