Improve Brain Power
- By Lauren Smalley
- Dec 1, 2013
Is it really that easy to improve brain power? According to a recent piece from Huffington Post’s Christine Comaford, the answer could be that simple. This along with other research underlines the incredibly powerful value that sleep has on us during the day.
Take a deeper look at how sleep impacts the brain and you’ll find an array of benefits. We can see the power of sleep on our brains through multiple lines of research – including child brain development, improved brain power in adults through sleep, and the effects of sleep on anxiety, stress, and more.
Follow along as we take a look at some crucial areas of the interplay between brain power and sleep!
Child Brain Development: Sleep Impacts Function and Maturity
Vince Pierri reports that according to a recent study published in the journal “Brain Sciences,” University of Colorado Boulder found that neuro-connections were significantly strengthened as children slept.
These findings came as a result of numerous electroencephalograms (EEG) of children at ages two, three, and five years old. Overall brain function and maturity increased, according to the study leaders. However, when the children lacked sleep, brain development may be hampered.
Research leader Salome Kurth commented on the latter effect in a news release: “I believe inadequate sleep in childhood may affect he maturation of the brain related to the emergence of developmental or mood disorders.”
As for the effects of sleep on the brain, researchers say that language development and attention span are strengthened by such healthy connections. Pierri adds that this study is yet another in the line of recent studies that speak to the importance of sleep for children and teens. He notes a University of Pennsylvania study that found that additional sleep can decrease the risk of being overweight. Another study attributed sufficient sleep to safer teen athletes.
20 More Minutes of Sleep to Improve Brain Power 2-3X!
Getting a good night’s sleep cut short can have a noticeable impact. It is so great that Comaford makes the bold assertion that headlines this section and blog post – for good reason!
In deep or slow wave sleep, we receive rejuvenating rest that is hard to wake up from in the earlier stage of the sleep cycle. What comes after this is known as rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, which is where Comaford (along with Dr. Jessica Payne, Cognitive Neuroscientist and Assistant Professor at Notre Dame) says that our brain has a “project” to work on – even asserting that her clients retain 40 percent more information when they study right before bed.
Since our brains are nearly as active during REM sleep as they are when we’re awake, it’s important that we receive this time in our sleep. Comaford says that if we cut this short, removes the ability to regulate emotions, leaving you unhappy, grumpy, and much more. An older study confirms the negative effects of insufficient sleep on brain power quite convincingly.
That extra 20 minutes can make all the difference!
What a Difference Sleep Makes
Sleep can improve brain power and help you feel better – emotionally and physically.
Laurie Dent Wegman points to sleep’s ability to shut out anxiety and help with memory. And then there’s stress – which is responsible for nearly 50 percent of sleep problems, according to Wegman. Sleep can help your body deal with these and other factors that can take its toll on your life.
These recent studies only begin to demonstrate the impressive power of sleep. It can certainly improve brain power, affecting your daily routine in a positive way. As the research catches up to the science of sleep, you can safely assume that sleep plays a dramatic role in brain power, emotions, stress, and much more.
Why do we need sleep and how can you go to sleep better? We have a lot of great information that can impact your health and help you get that extra 20 minutes of sleep! There will be plenty of additional sleep tips and news on our sleep blog as well.