If you want to take your health into your own hands, sleep is one of the best places to start.
Some of us can’t get enough of it. Yet others can make it through the day with very little. But losing sleep could do more than make you unpleasant to be around the next morning. You may be setting your body up for some major problems.
Health Watch readers may recall that a lack of sleep can double your risk of heart attack and stroke. It also disrupts your body’s hormone production.
Losing sleep may lower testosterone levels by up to 15%. Yet getting enough of it helps flush toxins out of your brain. A good night’s sleep might be the easiest way to prevent Alzheimer’s. And research shows it may do more than just protect your brain…
A new study reveals the workings behind one of the most important—but underrated—benefits of sleep…
A night of quality shuteye may actually help preserve something even more precious than cognitive function and testosterone…
Now, you don’t have to be a scientist to know that sleep can support memory. You feel sharper after a night of quality sleep. Remembering details of conversations and recalling where you put your keys the night before may seem easier. But it has always been more of an understanding than a hard fact. The reason why sleep actually enhances memory has been elusive.1 But now we know why.
A joint effort by researchers at New York University School of Medicine and Peking University in China looked at how sleep improves memory—even learning—in mice. They trained these mice to walk on a rotating rod. It was a new skill for them.
But this is where things got interesting…
They used a microscope to look inside the brains the mice. They kept one group of mice awake after learning their new trick. But they let the other group sleep all they wanted. They found that the mice in the sleeping group formed significantly more new neuron connections than the sleep deprived mice.2 In other words, they were learning more. And they could literally see the results.
Learning a new task formed small spine-like structures on specific neurons in these mice. It sounds weird… But these “spines” were a physical representation of a new memory or learned skill. These neurons grew—even fired again—during sleep.3 But not just any type of sleep will do this…
The researchers found that these memories form during slow-wave sleep. You may know it as delta sleep. It’s a deep stage of sleep that’s hard to wake up from. Not surprisingly, this is also stage most associated with weird behaviors… Like sleep-walking and sleep-talking. The brain uses this sleep stage to replay the activities from the day. But spending time in this stage may also increase your capacity for learning.
This is why the mice that slept after training were able to perform better than the mice training for three hours and being kept awake. Deep sleep also led to learning other new skills more quickly.4 It’s why cramming the night before an exam doesn’t usually pay off. Without enough sleep, you won’t retain the new information or skills you learned. Just don’t rely on sleeping pills to help you get to sleep…
Big Pharama’s sleeping pills put your health in danger. They could even put your life at risk. Taking these pills may quadruple your death risk. And that’s in addition to their already scary list of side effects. Use natural solutions instead.
Regular exercise may help improve the amount—and quality—of sleep you get each night.5 Supplementing with melatonin can be dangerous. Get it from tart cherries and walnuts instead. L-tryptophan from eggs, fish, and poultry may also help you drift off easier.
Using natural sleep aids may help you get a good night’s sleep. But they may also help you hold on to—even help make new—memories for years to come.