Sleep, mood and memory.

Often in life we forget just how interconnected everything is in our bodies. The impact of our routines is capable of either becoming a virtuous circle supporting our wellbeing or a vicious circle undermining our lives. A recent example is a study showing how good sleep quality and good mood lead to good working memory, particularly as we age.

The strong association between working memory (a fundamental building block of a functioning mind) was found between three health-related factors: sleep, age, and depressed mood. Furthermore, each of these factors is associated with different aspects of working memory – the part of short-term memory that temporarily stores and manages information required for cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension. It is critically involved in many higher cognitive functions, including intelligence, creative problem-solving, language, and action-planning. It also plays a major role in how we process, use, and remember information.

The researchers are the first to statistically isolate the effects of the three factors on working memory quantity and quality, and they seem to behave in different ways. As a result, the implications are clear; we all benefit from better sleep, but the older an individual, the weaker and less precise the memory. So, as we age, the more important it becomes to ensure we have the best sleep quality possible for our minds to work at their best and to help avoid depression.

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