Working Memory & sleep
Having a healthy sleep schedule is fundamental for improving your Working Memory, your ability to solve problems and make good decisions. Stress has a high impact on your Working Memory: you can regulate the impact of stress on your mental abilities with a good sleep routine. You should view sleep as being as important as eating and drinking.
Most adults ideally require between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
Stick to a consistent schedule as much as possible, resisting the urge to deviate as other commitments are cancelled. You can make use of little extra time in bed from not having to travel so much – but make this a regulated routine, avoiding oversleep!
Sleep plays a fundamental role in enhancing memory, creativity, problem-solving activities, and critical thinking skills. Without getting the required amount of sleep, these cognitive faculties may be compromised.
Although the effect that sleep has on memory is still not fully understood, a number of studies have shown there is a significant link between a healthy sleep schedule and the consolidation of memory. Sleep essentially allows the brain to process and connect new information. Research suggests a very strong link between a regular sleep schedule and the ability to memorise and learn new information.
Watch the video to learn more about how working memory impacts your life.
Tips to improve working memory with good sleep
- Avoid screens at least an hour before bed – The blue light produced by screens inhibits the production of melatonin (the hormone that controls sleep). It is best to steer clear of televisions or electronic devices way before going to bed. Too much light or noise can prevent you from falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Keep devices out of the bedroom – This is again partly down to the blue light produced by screens, but there are other reasons you should keep electronic devices away from your bedroom. One significant reason is that associating you bed with other activities can make it more difficult to sleep. Also, stimulating you brain before trying to sleep by watching TV or scrolling through your news feed keeps your brain active. Start charging your phone in a different room.
- Try not to break your routine – Resist the temptation of a big lie-in (even on weekends) as this will disrupt your sleep schedule.
- Reduce caffeine intake – Caffeine affects people differently, with some people being highly sensitive to it. If you suspect that your caffeine intake is keeping you up at night, cut out any caffeine after 1pm.
- Buy a simple alarm clock – Particularly in recent years, more and more of us use our smart phones as our alarm clocks. Instead, get yourself a simple alarm clock, which means you won’t have to sleep with your phone next to your bed.
- Keep track of your sleep – Keeping a sleep diary can really help you to track your progress and figure out what techniques have been working and what hasn’t. There are loads of different apps and devices that can help you to do this, but a simple pen and paper method can be just as effective.
The MyCognition Healthy Habits toolkit contains a sleep diary & sleep efficiency calculator to help you help yourself achieve better sleep and improve working memory.
You can also access the full Healthy Habits programme for FREE below:
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Download the MyCognition HOME app now and you will get an additional free license for a member of your family or cared one.
If living or working in London, you can have a free MyCognition PRO license through the NHS Good Thinking programme at https://www.good-thinking.uk/resources/mycognition/
The apps are available on any iOS or Android devices.
MyCognition apps are regulated by the MHRA as a CE medical device with NHS-digital and ORCHA approval. Both apps also include a dedicated e-learning programme on how to build and maintain Healthy Habits.
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