When was the last time you had to remember a phone number, an address of a friend or a recipe? If you’re like most people, it has been some time. Now that most people have a phone on them at all times, we are rarely forced to encode short term information into long term information. This skill, which is called memory consolidation, has been weakened with the availability of current technology. Unfortunately, this is also the main skill at play when doing an exam.
One simple but often undervalued solution to improving your memory consolidation is sleep! Studies show that sleeping after taking on new content increases both memory retention and recall. One research study found that people who slept for 8 hours after learning new faces and names were better able to remember them compared to those who didn’t get the sleep opportunity.
If you are sleeping less than 6-8 hours a day, chances are this is affecting your memory and performance on tests. Generally, deeper sleep results in better memory, but even naps will help improve your memory. So if you want to improve your memory, make sleep a priority!