The Sleep Council Cover-image-300x233 Sleep Your Way To The Top  Preparing for an important exam, presentation or interview? It may be tempting to stay up late the night before, trying to cram information into your head, but DON’T!

You will be much better off getting an early night instead.

Not only will you be more refreshed when you wake up, you will also be much better able to remember what you learnt the day before.

There’s a growing body of evidence that demonstrates how much the sleep we get impacts on how we perform on tasks.  A good night’s sleep triggers changes in the brain that helps to improve memory.

Research has found that:

– Those who reached deeper stages of sleep showed a better command of flexible thinking – a vital cognitive skill that allows us to apply old facts and information to new situations. (City University of New York 2012)

– Some people’s brains are busy learning even when they are asleep and those who had a good night’s sleep could recall information better. People with good working memories are more likely to replay material in the brain at night and therefore remember it better in the long term. (Michigan State University)

– Women who slept five hours or less had lower scores on standard memory tests than those who slept for five hours. But too much sleep is a bad thing as those who got nine or more hours of sleep performed worse on memory tests compared to those who slept seven hours. (Elizabeth Devore, ScD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, 2012)

– Nine out of 10 teachers complain that pupils are so tired they are unable to pay attention in class. More than a third (said lack of sleep among youngsters is a daily problem for them. And more than half of those questioned agreed that the brightest children in the classroom are the best slept and most wide awake. (Sleep Council Sleep Awareness study, 2012)

– The brain evaluates memories during sleep and preferentially retains the ones that are most relevant. The brain’s prefrontal cortex ‘tags’ memories deemed relevant while awake and the hippocampus consolidates these memories during sleep. (The Journal of Neuroscience, February 2011)

– Losing sleep erodes concentration and problem-solving ability. Each hour of sleep lost per night is associated with a temporary loss of 1 IQ point. (Stanley Coren, University of British Colombia, 1999)

So if you want to succeed – whether that’s at school or in the work place – then the best advice we can give you is to make sure you get a good night’s sleep!

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