Too little sleep compromises many of the body’s biological processes, most notably the immune system, metabolic function, and cognitive performance (specifically, learning and memory). Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Massachusetts, USA) reported that sleep is important for the development of episodic memories, and particularly those of an emotional nature. The team studied 88 college students, and found that those subjects who slept a full evening remembered the emotional scene they were shown in far greater detail, as compared to those participants who stayed awake for 12 hours after viewing the scene.
Defying the adage that ‘you snooze, you lose,’ sleep is a vital process that helps to preserve memories. Don’t underestimate the restorative role of sleep: while the amount of sleep required is highly individualized, it is critical to get sleep of a sufficient duration that is followed by a spontaneous awakening and leaves you feeling refreshed and alert for the day.