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Sunrise Senior Living Blog

'Sleep Your Way to a Better Memory'

Scientists have discovered how to use sleep as a way to help your brain store and recall memories. While most people feel their memory could use some improvement, training your mind to retain more information is no easy task. However, scientists have discovered how to use sleep as a way to help your brain store and recall memories.

Memory's role in sleep

While sleeping, information from the day is processed and stored in the brain, according to the BBC. Memories are "shifted" from one area of the mind to another and, depending on the duration and quality of your sleep, your ability to recall them can vary. One study published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine journal asked participants to play two songs on the game Guitar Hero, and one of the songs was played back to them as they slept. When they woke, their accuracy at playing the song had improved. So, say the researchers, when you're trying to learn something, hearing it again as you sleep could make it more more memorable.

Sleep - or a lack of it - plays a major role in cognitive ability. A recent Michigan State University study showed that poor sleeping habits are harmful to your memory. Participants were shown photos of an event and then were forced to stay awake throughout the night. The next day, they had more difficulty recalling key details of the images than their well-rested peers.

Additional memory tricks

Sleeping isn't the only way to improve your memory. According to Business Insider, there are many ways to train your brain while you're awake. Understanding what you're learning is key. The better you understand an idea, the more likely you are to retain it. Problem solving requires considerable thinking that can help ensure total comprehension, which helps cement an idea into your long term memory.

To truly understand a concept, Business Insider said it may be helpful to connect an idea to one with which you're already familiar. This encourages association and strengthens the brain's ability to recall it when necessary. Similarly, mnemonics can also help train your memory. Using an acronym could help you remember a list of otherwise tricky terms. 

Can Alternative Therapies Improve Memory?

Magnetic stimulation has been used to test brain function in patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions, but scientists from Northwestern University are now investigating other cognitive benefits of the therapy. Scientists have discovered a novel way for people to improve their memory. Magnetic stimulation has been used to test brain function in patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions, but scientists from America's Northwestern University are now investigating other cognitive benefits of the therapy.

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Young Blood Protein 'Fights Alzheimer's'

Scientists at Stanford University discovered an anti-ageing protein in young blood that could be the key to curing diseases like Alzheimer's. Researchers from Harvard University in the USA have discovered a protein in young blood that could benefit those with certain heart conditions, reported the Daily Telegraph.

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'Stay Young' by Learning a Language

According to a study published in the journal Annals of Neurology, being bilingual is shown to improve cognition in older adults, regardless of when the language was learned. Speaking multiple languages can provide more benefits for individuals than just the ability to talk with the locals when you're on holiday.

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'Depression Risk' in Early Stage Parkinson's

Those in the early stages of Parkinson's, like the late actor Robin Williams, are more likely to experience depression than their healthy peers, according to a Northwestern University study. Researchers from America's Northwestern University have found that people in the early stages of Parkinson's are more likely to experience depression than their healthy peers, and their mood disorder was often left untreated, according to the study.

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