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Missing two hours of sleep can erase your memories permanently

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Tuesday 30th October 2012

You may regularly be guilty of missing a few hours of sleep whether you just can't seem to dose off that easily or if you were up too late partying the night away.

Recent research from this month suggests that even a loss of two hours of sleep can be detrimental as this can contribute towards the permanent wipe out of some of our memories. Even a rapid change from sleeping 8 hours per night down to 6 hours can have a negative effect on your mind and body. Not only will you feel groggy and lack focus due to sleep deprivation, but you will also lose memories you may once have cherished. This can be disappointing fact to wake up to.

Lead researcher for this study, Professor Ted Abel and his colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania conducted an experiment upon a group of mice to determine the effects of sleep deprivation on memory preservation. In this memory task these animals were kept awake for different amounts of time to gauge how much sleep they require for the preservation of their memories. Results from this analysis indicate that when some mice were deprived of sleep this ''impaired the storage of memories’’, Professor Abel states.

Professor Abel suggests that catching up on sleep the following night will not recapture those memories. Instead to retain your memories you should aim to get your recommended 6-8 hours per night (even on the weekends!).


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