How Sleep Affects Memory

The purple bags under your eyes aren’t the only effect of sleep deprivation. Did you know that a lack of sleep can also affect your mood, motivation, judgment, and even memory? According to researchers from Harvard, seven hours of sleep is an average amount that helps maintain memory and accuracy later in life. The study showed that under sleepers (those who report five hours or less a night) and over sleepers (those who receive nine hours or more) are mentally two years older than their actual age.

The study was performed by the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and included a group of women who were interviewed about their sleep habits starting in 1986 and again in 2000. The researchers noted women who reported less than five hours of sleep a night, or more than nine hours a night, had worse performances on memory, brain testing, and thinking skills. The group that performed the best was the women who reported receiving 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation and Memory Loss

Studies like the one mentioned above help us to see how negatively sleep loss affects memory and overall health. People who repeatedly experience a lack of sleep often have high blood pressure, narrowed blood vessels, and diabetes, not to mention a wealth of cognitive problems. Memory loss can wreak havoc on your daily life, including:

  • Health
    Sleep deprivation causes your memory to blur, and you can easily forget to take your daily medications. You might even question if you took your pills at all, causing you to potentially overdose or harm your body.
  • Daily Tasks
    With poor memory skills, you may forget to run important errands or be at events at a certain time. You may damage relationships with family members or friends who become annoyed at your flakiness.
  • Employment
    Memory loss can take a great toll on your employment. You may miss deadlines, or forget to turn in that report before you leave for the day. Small errors may creep into your work and damage your professional reputation.

How to Get Help for Sleep Deprivation

Most people need between 7-8 hours of sleep a night to feel rested and healthy. This is the golden number that doesn’t affect memory and cognitive abilities. If you are having trouble achieving this amount of sleep each day, schedule a visit with the professionals at Spark Sleep Solutions. Our board-certified doctors can help you sleep peacefully without fear of memory loss. Contact us today at (408) 490-0182.