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Sleep and Your Brain

Tired teenager sleeping with their phone beside them.

Center for BrainHealth

How can sleep strengthen your brain?

Your overall health and functioning rely on getting good sleep. Small improvements to your sleep patterns can have larger impact on how well your brain functions throughout the day.


Good sleep habits help improve learning, recall and mood. Your brain and body stay active while you sleep, with research suggesting that while you snooze, your brain cleans house, making room for new learning and moving what you’ve studied from short term to long term storage.


  • Prioritize consistent sleep. Sleeping the night before you study is just as important as sleeping the night before you take an exam because it frees up space in the brain’s hippocampus, which can make learning easier. Getting good sleep the night before an exam helps with recall of what you’ve learned.
  • Avoid overuse of sleep aids/medications. They can actually have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep.
  • Put electronics away 30 minutes before you go to bed to support sleep. Bonus points if you charge your phone outside your bedroom overnight and use an old-fashioned alarm clock.
  • The half-life of caffeine metabolism is 4-6 hours. Avoid caffeinated beverages 8-12 hours before your bedtime to keep it from disrupting sleep.

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