What happens when you add liquid to an already-full cup? It overflows. If you want to add more, you have to pour some out. Your brain appears to work in a similar fashion…while you sleep. Researchers found that at night, the brain shrinks some of the connections between brain cells that have grown during the day. This “selective forgetting” is thought to make room for new information and skills. Other research has shown that memories and learning get consolidated during sleep. It appears, then, that while you are sleeping, your brain saves what’s useful and discards the rest. Keep your mind sharp and receptive by taking sleep seriously. Keep consistent sleep/wake times, get plenty of natural light during the day (especially in the morning), and give your electronic devices a “bedtime” that’s at least an hour before yours. Daily exercise and minimizing caffeine and alcohol can also help you get sufficient shuteye.
“Studies show that if you prevent people from sleeping after a learning task, their ability to learn is basically smashed.” Russell Foster