Sleep is very important, it is a well-known fact. This is a well-established research-based fact that memory and learning have a connection with sleep. Many students learn it hard way when they do not get enough time to sleep due to their studies. It is also seen that not getting enough sleep also affects one’s ability to retain information and remember things.
Many research studies are conducted to see the association between good sleep and cognitive ability. It is seen that the quality of sleep does have an association with the long-term functioning of the brain. People with insomnia for more than 2 days have a 5-point drop in IQ. But first, it is important to understand what insomnia is.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a disorder in which one finds it difficult to sleep. It can be chronic or acute (depending on one’s disorder). It, normally, gets chronic if it happens at least three to four times in a time span of a month.
The National Institute for Health claims that around 10 percent of adults suffer from insomnia worldwide. It is difficult for psychologists to highlight the actual cause of insomnia but they have started investigating the effects that insomnia has on the long-term functioning of the brain.
Insomnia and brain
One important thing to keep in mind is that insomnia does not just affect you at night when you are trying to fall asleep. A research study has proved that neurons in the brain structure of individuals with insomnia exposed more “excitability.”
Excitability can be defined as the ability of the neurons to develop output signals from the given input signals. The neurons of the brain of the person with insomnia are more prone to be “active.”
Research has established that insomnia is not a disorder that occurs only during the nighttime. In fact, it is like a 24 hours condition of the brain and is always affecting its functionality.
Insomnia’s Effect on Memory
Many recent research studies have shown that insomnia affects the working task memory of the brain. Working task memory is like the short-term information that the brain stores in order to complete the given task.
Insomnia, in general, does not affect cognitive function but it is seen that people with insomnia find it quite difficult to complete the given task. As insomnia affects the working task memory making it difficult for people to store and retain the information necessary to complete the given task.
When examined through MRI screening, people with insomnia showed less activity in areas of the brain that involve working task memory as compared to the people who do not have insomnia.
Some parts of the brain do not function when a person is sleep-deprived. Those people who struggle with sleep have their brain functionality compromised. Their brain is unable to do its job properly. The research studies have shown that insomniacs find it very hard to concentrate. They find it difficult to complete the particular task at the same pace as those of other people who do not have insomnia.
Insomnia affects cognitive functions
Research has shown a connection between the quality of sleep and gray matter in the frontal lobe. Poor quality of sleep leads to a decrease in gray matter in the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe of the brain plays an important role in stimulating the working task memory.
It is seen that poor sleep is associated with compromised working task memory and inability to concentrate.
How to improve the quality of sleep?
Experts usually suggest developing consistency in sleep routine. They ask the insomniac patients to adjust the consistent number of sleep hours. One of the ways to improve such conditions is to create a healthy sleep environment.
A healthy sleep environment includes a room free from electronic gadgets, dim lights, and comfortable temperatures. Experts suggest at least of seven to eight hours to sleep every night. To have normal executive functions of the brain it is quite essential to take a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
Refrain from using the phone during bedtime as it slows down the sleeping process making it difficult for the person to sleep properly.
Sleep is important for a person to function properly. Research has shown that those who struggle with sleep have compromised brain functionality. Their working task memory doesn’t work like the normal people who do not suffer from insomnia.
People with insomnia also struggle with concentration problems. They find it very difficult to maintain the attention required to complete any particular task. Experts suggest a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. They also recommend creating a healthy sleeping environment.
Avoid watching television and using cell phones before going to sleep. Using gadgets during bedtime slows down the sleeping process. Turn off the cell phones one hour before going to bed. Keep the room lights dim and the room temperature stable.