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How Getting Enough Sleep Helps Your Brain

December 02, 2021

Lack of sleep at night can make you cranky the next day. Over time, skimping on sleep can mess up more than just your morning mood, it can even impact your brain. Sleep is an important part of your daily routine, especially since you spend about one-third of your time doing it.  Quality sleep and getting enough of it at the right times is as essential to survival as food and water.  Without sleep, you can’t form or maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create new memories, and it’s harder to concentrate and respond quickly. Regularly getting quality sleep can help improve all sorts of issues, so do your brain a favor and give it the ZZZs it needs. 

Sharper Brain

When you are running low on sleep, holding onto and recalling details can be tough. That is because sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. Without enough sleep, it’s tough to focus and take in new information. Your brain also does not have enough time to properly store memories so that you can pull them up later. Sleep lets your brain catch up so that you are ready for what’s next.


Besides robbing you of energy and time for muscle repair, lack of sleep saps your motivation. You’ll face a harder mental and physical challenge as well as see slower reaction times. Proper rest sets you up for your best performance.

Make Sense of New Information

Believe it or not, your brain can process complex information when you’re sleeping.

Experts have long known that your brain maintains some level of awareness even when your brain is fully engaged in the sleep process. 

Cement Memories

Sleep is prime time for your brain to get busy processing memories. As you sleep, your brain works to solidify memories that you formed throughout the day. It also links these new memories to older ones, helping you make connections between different pieces of information to come up with new ideas. 

Sleep deprivation interferes with your hippocampus, the part of your brain that’s responsible for processing memories. When you’re sleeping, your brain decides what stuff from the day is worth keeping and what’s worth forgetting about so you can free up space for taking in new information tomorrow. Research shows that sleep improves memory retention so much that the brain can be more efficient at consolidating memories while you’re asleep than while you’re awake. While some amount of age-related memory decline is unavoidable, getting enough sleep is crucial for making the most of your brain’s memory-consolidating powers. 

Think More Creatively

As you sleep, your brain forms connections between new ideas and old ones. Perhaps unsurprisingly, REM sleep, the part of the sleep cycle that involves dreaming, is key to boosting creativity.

Clear Out Harmful Toxins

When it comes to keeping your brain as clean as possible, sleep just might be the key. At the same time, your brain is busy sending outgrowth hormones, consolidating memories, and forming creativity-boosting connections. It’s also busting out the vacuum to clear away any harmful toxins. Studies conducted on mice back in 2013 found that during sleep, the space between rodents’ brain cells expanded, allowing for the brain to sweep away harmful molecules that had built up throughout the day. And not just any harmful molecules, but those associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Adequate quality shut-eye helps your brain fire on all cylinders so you can think and respond faster and with fewer mistakes. Sleep provides an opportunity for the neurons you have been using all day to take a break and repair themselves before you start calling on them again. Your best bet is to shoot for seven to eight hours of slumber each night for peak health benefits.

If you suffer from poor sleep or feel drowsy during the day, undergoing a sleep study at West Tennessee Healthcare Sleep Disorders Center is the first step toward treatment. Click Here to learn more about this program and how you can be evaluated.