The secret to a great night's sleep

Sharpen your memory with sleep

It is widely known that getting a good night's sleep is vital to our wellbeing and health. But, did you know that getting eight hours of shut eye can help make recognising and recalling new names and faces, significantly easier?

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 Dr Jeanne Duffy, an associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston, said: "We know that many different kinds of memories are improved with sleep". 

 The research found that when participants were given the opportunity to have a full night's sleep, their ability to correctly identify the name associated with a face, and the confidence in their answers, significantly improved. 

 The study involved showing the participants 20 photos of faces with corresponding names from a database of more than 600 colour photographs of adult faces, and asking them to memorise. After 12 hours, the photos were shown again with either a correct or incorrect name. Alongside the photograph test, participants were also asked to rate their confidence on a scale of one to nine. 

 When given an opportunity to sleep for up to eight hours, participants correctly matched 12 per cent more of the faces and names.

 The researchers said sleep duration or sleep stage did not influence people's ability to correctly recognise faces and names.

 Dr Duffy said, "As people get older, they are more likely to develop sleep disruptions and sleep disorders, which may in turn cause memory issues.

 'By addressing issues with sleep, we may be able to affect people's ability to learn things at all different ages."

 Do you get eight hours of sleep a night? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

 To improve your quality of sleep and therefore improve your memory, visit our Sleep Matters page.


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