This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series Brain Health

Many people nowadays don’t know the importance of sleep on brain fitness or brain function. Imagine that it’s 4 a.m., and the big test is in eight hours, followed by a piano recital. You’ve been studying and playing for days, but you still don’t feel ready for either. So, what can you do? Well, you can drink another cup of coffee and spend the next few hours cramming and practicing, but believe it or not, you might be better off closing the books, putting away the music, and going to sleep.

Why is sleep important?

Sleep occupies nearly one-third of our lives, but many of us give surprisingly little care or attention to it. This neglect is often the result of a major misunderstanding. Sleep isn’t lost time, or just a way to rest when all our important work is done. Instead, it’s a critical function, during which your balance regulates its vital systems, affecting respiration and regulating everything from circulation to growth and immune response. Sleep is also one of the main foundations of having good brain fitness and function.

Here are five importance of sleep for optimal brain fitness:

Sleep Is Very Crucial For Brain Function

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Sleep is very important for our brain fitness with a fifth of our body’s circulating blood being channeled to it as we go to bed. And what goes on in your brain while you sleep is an intensely active period of restructuring, which is crucial for memory consolidation.

See Also: The Benefits of Sleep for Brain Health

Sleep Is Important For Memory Consolidation

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At first glance, our ability to remember things doesn’t seem very impressive at all. 19th-century psychologist, Herman Ebbinghaus, demonstrated that we normally forget 40 percent of new material within the first twenty minutes, a phenomenon known as the forgetting curve.

But this loss can be prevented through memory consolidation, the process by which information is moved from our fleeting short-term memory to our long-term memory. That’s why sleep is important for our brain fitness.

Sleep Improve Focus And Concentration

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Sleep is also one of the keys to maximizing concentration, focus, and productivity by establishing as many positive sleep-friendly habits as possible, also known as practicing good sleep hygiene. Even if we have a demanding job, there are variables within our control that promote good sleep.

Focus on creating a sleep-friendly environment, adjusting your pre-sleep eating and drinking habits, and creating sleep-friendly bedtime and waking routines, and you’ll reap the daytime benefits of improved concentration and focus. One of the main signs that you have normal brain fitness is having great focus and concentration throughout the day.

See Also: Why Sleep Is Important for Brain Health

Sleep Improves Your Mental Health

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Sleep promotes positive emotions such as optimism. You will have increased brain fitness and the ability to notice and reframe thoughts in more practical ways if you get enough sleep. Positive emotions like kindness and compassion encourage optimistic mindsets, which lead to more positive behavior.

Having good brain fitness through proper sleep can also boost your confidence. Our relationship with ourselves improves when we are optimistic. Self-esteem and self-efficacy (belief in one’s own abilities) rise, and we may focus more on our own strengths. Mindfulness practice for brain fitness also increases self-compassion and empathy.

See Also: 3 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep Improves Your Cognitive Creativity

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Our brains are divided into two sides: right and left. The right brain is more creative and thinks outside the box. The left brain is more disciplined and adheres to rules and structures.

While the right brain is more creative than the left, both sides contribute to our cognitive creative process. Better sleep promotes brain fitness and the formation of connections to solve problems, thereby fueling our brain’s cognitive creative process. The brain struggles to form ideas and perform at its best when it is deprived of sleep. So make sure that you will always have a good night’s sleep for better brain fitness and function.

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