In last week's blog post, we touched on creating a sleep schedule before school begins so that you can ensure a smooth transition into the school year. In this week's blog post, we'll discuss three ways in which getting quality sleep can enhance your mind and help you attain academic success.
Memory Consolidation- Getting enough quality sleep can be incredibly helpful in reinforcing and stabilizing a memory. When you sleep, a series of events occur in which particular memories become solidified by moving to long-term storage. This leads to improved retention and recall. For example, you can use sleep as a form of test preparation! Say you learned the process of mitosis in class; at night as you try to fall asleep try to see if you can remember the steps. No worries if you can't; you can review the content again the next day! Many people find counting backwards helpful to fall asleep; you can view doing this as a replacement for that. It can be a very beneficial practice to your academic success.
Facilitation of Neuroplasticity- Neuroplasticity, put simply, is the brain's ability to change and adapt. Through different events and experiences our neurons (brain cells) form new connections and the existing connections are adjusted. Neuroplasticity is an ongoing process, but during sleep the synaptic connections, in plain terms, communication points between our neurons, are especially strengthened. Knowing this, you can maximize your learning by, you guessed it, getting quality and quantity sleep! Our brains work hard to form new connections as we learn, so we can help it by giving it the rest and sleep it deserves and it will continue to strengthen all of the new information as we do so.
Importance of Deep Sleep- Deep sleep, or slow wave sleep is crucial to our over all well being. It is a time when our bodies undergo physical rejuvenation. During this period of our sleep (usually occurring in the first half of the night) our muscles grow, our tissues are repaired, and our immune systems become strengthened. Our overall health is important to take care of because it directly affects our quality of life and ability to function optimally. It allows us to carry out our daily activities and engage in both physical and mental activities.
Well, there you have it! Three ways sleep enhances your mind. It can be difficult juggling school work and your personal life, but receiving quality and quantity sleep shouldn't have to take the brunt. Although it may be difficult, it is possible to get good sleep. You can try establishing a sleep schedule that works for you, limit your exposure to screens 30 minutes to an hour before you sleep and do things that help you to unwind as you approach bedtime. Good luck!