How is sleep related to memory?


Scientists and researchers have studied the relationship between memory and sleep1 for more than 100 years. The general consensus today is that memory consolidation2 – the process of preserving key memories and discarding excessive information – takes place during both the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) stages of your sleep cycle.

In the world we live in today, lack of sleep is considered a hallmark of hard work and an essential ingredient for achieving success. We often come across students and professionals taking pride in scarce hours of sleep, sporting it as a badge of honor and implying this a march towards inordinate accomplishments. As a society we have developed an extremely high tolerance for sleep deprivation blissfully ignoring this being a critical component of our well-being.

Sleep embodies our mental and physical recovery period leading to a productive, energetic and happy work day. The case in point is an eye-opening research conducted in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US in 2019. The students who consistently had a good night’s sleep and refrained from pulling an all-night out before exams scored far better than those who had erratic sleep habits.

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