Thursday, 14 March 2013

Memories are made of this

Ever walked from one room to another to get something, then returned to your starting point empty handed and with no idea why you moved in the first place? I can see you nodding ... or maybe you got to the next room and looked around, wondering what you could have been looking for? Ever lost your car in a car park? No, it's not funny at all.

A colleague insists that we only have a set amount of storage space in our brain and that once it is full, there is no room left for anything else. If you learn something new, then something you already know has to fall out. Now, we won't let medical science spoil a good theory, but she might have a point.

I actually think I know what my problem is and an article this morning confirmed what I already suspected: Lack of sleep affects memory. I'd go even further to say that lack of sleep affects so much more than just memory, but this is a good start.

I used to be able to survive on so much less (and lesser quality) sleep but find that my average of 6.5 hours each night just isn't enough for me any more. Sure, I can do it for a while but it's not a good long-term pattern. Despite my best efforts to be in bed my 11 pm each night, it often doesn't happen for another hour or so and 6.30 am comes around all too quickly.

I'm not entirely convinced that banking sleep or 'sleep extension' actually works but it sounds good in theory. Some researchers say it can't be done. Perhaps I'll use the shorter days during the winter months to live more like the bird - wake when the sun comes up and head off to bed at sunset. Or maybe hibernation is a better all-round option? Zzzzz ...

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