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Study: Can Lack of Sleep Affect Your Ability to Learn?

sleepA recent study conducted by researchers at the New York University Langone Medical Center provides additional evidence that there is a link between sleep and learning.

According to the Huffington Post, the study involved mice learning to balance a spinning rod. To determine the effect that sleep had on learning this task, the researchers had one group of mice sleep for seven hours after learning how to balance the rod while the other group of mice stayed awake.

They reportedly found that the mice who slept for the seven-hour period experienced more significant growth in their dendritic spines, which facilitate the passage of information throughout the brain.

“These findings indicate that sleep has a key role in promoting learning-dependent synapse formation and maintenance on selected dendritic branches, which contribute to memory storage,” wrote the researchers, as reported by the source.

Studies like this one further reinforce the importance of getting enough sleep, which can be difficult if you suffer from sleep apnea. The good news is that sleep apnea is typically easy to treat – particularly with CPAP therapy – so if you think you may have this disorder, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor.

photo credit: velkr0 via photopin cc