Don’t Forget To Remember: Why A Complete Sleep Is Good For Your Memory
June 15, 2015
We enjoy sleeping, especially when we lay down on our favorite bed mattress in our own rooms. But there are times when we can’t or may not sleep properly. Such instances include all-nighters for school activities, as well as slumber parties and pajama parties. But, as you know, staying up late almost every night is bad not only for our health, but also for our mental activities. Why so? Read below to know more.
Boosts Your Declarative and Procedural Memory
Declarative and procedural memories are two types of long-term memory, and both of them play an important role in a normal human functioning.
Declarative memory is the knowledge of fact-based information, or “what” we know. It is also referred to as “explicit memory” because it consists of information that is explicitly stored and retrieved. Declarative memory is also divided in two sub-categories: the episodic memory and the semantic memory. Episodic memory is our memory of experiences and specific events in time, while semantic memory can be considered as a more structured record of facts, meanings, concepts, and knowledge about the external world.
Procedural memory, on the other hand, is the unconscious memory of skills and how to do things – especially the use of objects or movements of the body. These include simple tasks like tying a shoelace, playing a specific musical instrument, or riding the bike. These memories are often acquired via repetition and practice. The procedural memory is also called the implicit memory because one does not need too much effort in order to remember.
How Proper Sleep Affects Our Memories
Researches had been conducted with regards to sleep and how it affects memory. According to one research study, individuals who are engaged in intensive language course were observed to have an increase in rapid eye movement (REM) activity – the stage where dreaming occurs most frequently. It is suggested that REM sleep is involved in declarative memory processes for complex and emotionally charged information – but not simple and emotionally neutral information. It is also hypothesized that deep and restorative slow-wave sleep (SWS) also helps in declarative memory by processing and consolidating newly acquired information.
REM and SWS also plays a big role for procedural memory. Rapid eye movement sleep is necessary in the consolidation. Motor learning also seemed to depend on the amount of lighter stages of sleep, while visual learning memory depend on the amount and timing of both deep slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep.
Sleep plays an essential role to a person’s body and mind. Not only does one recover strength from catching Zzz’s, it also allows the rehearsals of information and improvement of memory. Just like what Dr. David Rapoport of NYU Langone Medical Center said, “If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice. But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.”