An Extra Hour of Sleep Can Improve Your Memory

© Konstantin Yuganov - Fotolia.com Getting just one extra hour of sleep every night can help your brain retain more information. These days, people are getting less and less sleep because we've all taken a liking to the odd mantra, "sleep is for the weak." This, of course, is not true. A recent study from the UK showed that increasing the amount of sleep you get by just an hour a night can help your brain

If you have a bad memory, the answer to your woes might simply be getting more sleep. While deep sleep is perceived as a time when we completely shut off, our brains are actually hard at work moving our short-term memories to our long-term memories, which makes space for the next day. If you don't get enough time in a deep sleep, some of your memories will be lost.

Researchers studied the sleep patterns of volunteers who normally got between six and nine hours of sleep a night. The volunteers were placed into two groups -- the first slept six-and-a-half hours a night while the second slept seven-and-a-half hours. After a week, the groups switched places.

When the volunteers had less sleep, they struggled with tasks that involved mental agility. Researchers also took blood tests, to see how their genes reacted. Overall, genes associated with stress, and risk of cancer and diabetes were more active when volunteers had gotten less sleep.

If you are struggling with a good night's sleep, try making time for exercise or a nightly wind-down.