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Catch Your Zzzzs for Memory and Learning

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Jan 28, 2013

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Fitness pros may want to remind clients that getting a good night’s sleep can be as important for health as good exercise and nutrition habits. New research shows that loss of less than half a night’s sleep can impair memory and alter the normal behavior of brain cells.

“Sleep deprivation not only impairs active memory functions in the hippocampus; it also alters hippocampal connections to the DMN [default mode network] during times when the brain turns to introspection and musing,” said lead study author Hengyi Rao, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania. “Moreover, these altered connections appear to correlate with later diminished episodic memory.” Episodic memory includes memories of scenes, events and experiences. The DMN refers to a network of brain regions that may be related to self-perception.

The research was presented in New Orleans, at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. To learn more, go to

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at