Everyone knows we think and function best when we're well-rested. A good night's sleep typically leads to a bright, alert brain allows which is more able to focus, learn and remember new information, and to be creative. On the flip-side, we are more likely to make mistakes and be less productive when you're tired.
If you suffer from chronic sleep problems, you could end up suffering from a severe dip in cognitive function over a more extended period.
Consistently healthy sleep puts us in a better mindset to take in new information. Plus, a good night's sleep is crucial in helping us to process and retain the new information our brains have collected over the day. In this article, we'll look at the different ways you can get a better brain through sleep.
Consolidate new skills and information
When we sleep soon after practising a new skill or recounting new information, the centre of our brains that control accuracy and speed are more active. As a result, sleep can help our brains process new information and help to consolidate new skills. This is because our memories and skills are shifted to more efficient areas of the brain when we sleep, allowing us to be more productive when we wake. Often, taking a short nap after learning or practising something can help you remember the information more in the long run.
Getting a good night's sleep also helps us come up with new ideas. While we sleep, our brains pull knowledge from different areas of the brain and experiences from our past together. As a result, we're more likely to spot patterns or create new ideas. This can be a massive help if you've got a problem to solve and have been struggling to think of a solution. Getting a night of restful sleep is excellent for helping us think outside the box and spot solutions we may otherwise have missed.
The key to improving your creativity and achieving a better brain through sleep is to reach REM sleep. During the REM section of the sleep cycle, your mind is still able to think laterally. Hence, it creates an inventory of your thoughts, memories and knowledge. As your brain moves into the next stage of the sleep cycle, it starts to relax and thinks in more abstract terms. As a result, you're more able to make connections between seemingly unrelated thoughts and experiences.
Remember, blue light can stop you from reaching REM sleep as quickly as possible. Try to avoid backlit phone screens which emit large quantities of blue light immediately before settling down if you want to maximise your creative development.
Sleep has a direct impact on your memory as your brain needs time to rest in order for new information to stick. This is known as memory consolidation and takes place when memories shift from short term to long term memory in our brains. This process is most effective when we're asleep and our minds can work without distraction. Getting enough sleep can also help improve the way you recall your knowledge and remember things you learnt previously, making getting enough sleep a great way to prepare for an upcoming test or presentation.
The simple explanation for this is that we continue to take in new information every moment that we're awake. Once we go to sleep, we're less likely to be exposed to new knowledge or memories. This gives our brain time to focus on filing what we've already learnt so that we can retrieve the information easily when needed.
The chances are we all know someone who's stayed awake to study all night before a big test - maybe that person is you. But actually, our understanding of how our brains work during sleep shows that staying awake to study could be detrimental to our focus and testing ability. Not only does rest give your mind a chance to consolidate all the information you've learnt, but it also helps you to remain focused the next day.
The human brain is made up of billions of neural cells which help us make decisions, stay focused and process information correctly. By depriving our minds of sleep, we limit our ability to carry out tasks and information recall successfully. Lack of sleep hampers the ability of the various cells and neurones in our mind to work together, making our thought uncoordinated, scattered and unfocused.
Improved learning capabilities
Our ability to learn also drops by about 40% when we're feeling tired. Meaning you're less likely to get the most of your days if you're not making the most of your chance to sleep at night.
To make sure your brain is getting the sleep it needs, try out Sonno mattress and see how your quality of sleep improves.