Many researchers have speculated that lack of sleep affects our brain, specifically our memorization abilities. Sleeping is a key component for our bodies to function properly and our brain to process all the information we took in during the day. Disrupting our sleeping cycle may not cause any visible immediate affects but can cause lasting effects. An experiment was held to test whether participant’s memory was affected by being denied sleep for 2 nights for researchers to study their SWS and REM sleep. In conclusion, of the experiment disruption of SWS impaired memories and disruption of REM affected verbal recall (Casey, Sarah J). Sleep deprivation has profound effects on human brain functioning. Lack of sleep shifts the activity of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the brain. But how does something become a memory in the first place? How much sleep is needed for our memories to not be effected?
Primarily for an occurrence to become a memory it involves learning or experiencing something new also called an acquisition. Then the memory becomes stable in the brain by first being stored in short-term memory formed by the hippocampus and stored in numerous areas of the cerebral cortex. Later becoming long-term memories after consolidation involving meaningful association of that memory. Being able to recall a memory is an action that is used when we are awake. Sleep is a major requirement the consolidation process and lack of sleep can disrupt the brain from recalling new information; however, a short- term memory does not simply become a long-term memory that has had information stored within specific temporal lobes within the brain. Even small tasks such as remembering a sequence of digits can only be performed by supplementing long-term memory with some additional mechanism. This additional mechanism is not part of long- term memory, but has all of the properties typically ascribed to a separate short-term store. (Norris Denis, 2017)
Studies have shown that the production of new cells and their development into neurons is affected by sleep and sleep loss. The disruption of sleep less than a day seems to have only a minor effect on the basal rate of cell proliferation. Cell proliferation is the process of increased or decreased number of cells, usually cancer or mutations in genes causes this. Disruption of sleep have heightening effects leading to a large decrease in the hippocampal cell proliferation, cell survival and neurogenesis.
The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep, small children need at least 12-14 hours of sleep and teenagers need at least 8 to 11 hours of sleep. Children need the most amount of sleep due to brain development and activity; young children usually do not remember experiences and form memories until the age 7. Most adults do not get 7 hours of sleep and are still able to function throughout the day and seem to have all their memories intact. Sleep deprivation slowly but surely causes brain deterioration, which not only causes memory loss but also leads to a major lack of focus, cognitive functions and permanent memory loss all together.
Past the age of three is when sleep patterns become more regular and a separation develops between normal sleep habits and ECEC practice, which is daytime naps children usually take at a younger age for the development of neurological maturity (Staton, Sally L 2015). Around this age, children begin to remember and recall their memories even for a short period of time. We don’t really start to begin forming long-term memories until the age of seven due to a lack of a neural development process. In conclusion sleep deprivation does affect our memory and being able to get enough sleep will develop our brains and cognitive skills.
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