Navigation Links
Lighter Sleep May Dull Memory Skills in Seniors

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- It's no secret that your memory skills decline as you get older, making it harder for you to pick up new tasks or remember where you put your keys.

Now, a new study suggests that the culprit lurks in the lighter sleep that accompanies aging.

Researchers found that older people get less deep sleep than their younger counterparts, and this appears to be directly linked to less reliable memory. Older people were more than 50 percent less able to remember new things after sleeping than young people.

The study, however, isn't definitive. It was fairly small, mostly looked at women and examined only one kind of memory -- the ability to remember pairs of words. Its authors, however, said the findings are strong enough to justify paying more attention to helping older people sleep better.

"In the young adults, sleep was doing a really good job at not letting those memories dissolve," explained study author Matthew Walker, an associate professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. "Sleep just wasn't doing that same kind of job in the elderly. As a consequence, they had far more severe forgetting, and a significant reason was because of the quality of their deep sleep."

In the study, researchers gave memory tests to 18 younger people (with an average age of 20) and 15 older people (with an average age of 72). The participants were then monitored as they slept, and took the memory test again.

After making statistical adjustments, the researchers found that although the older and younger people were about the same when it came to remembering things before sleeping, their ability to remember diverged afterwards.

The researchers said the older adults scored 55 percent less on the memory test after sleeping. They would not discuss the actual scores, saying they would be misleading from a statistical point of view.

The memory differences between the older and younger adults would probably be "noticeable in situations that require consistently high performance," said Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University.

So what's going on? The researchers blame it on less sleep in the older people.

"It's not just important to sleep before learning," Walker said. "You have to sleep after learning to consolidate those new memories and make long-term memories."

The researchers believe that older people aren't remembering as much because their sleep isn't as deep as that of the younger people. The good news is that better sleep could make a difference, he said.

Paul Reber, an associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University who studies sleep, said there's reason to support a focus on deep sleep in particular. "It could be the case that as we age, our sleep gets disrupted more -- by aches, pains and [the] bladder -- and this is affecting our daily memory function," he said.

The story appears online Jan. 27 in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

More information

For more about memory, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Matthew Walker, Ph.D., associate professor, neuroscience and psychology, University of California at Berkeley; Paul Reber, Ph.D., associate professor, psychology, and Phyllis Zee, M.D., Ph.D., professor, neurology, and director, Sleep Disorders Center, Northwestern University, Chicago; Jan. 27, 2013, Nature Neuroscience

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Coffee Drinking in Pregnancy Wont Lead to Sleepless Baby: Study
2. Disrupted Sleep May Raise Risk for Obesity, Diabetes: Study
3. Depressed moms behavior may play role in infants sleep problems
4. Depressed Moms May Hinder Babies Sleep
5. Poor Sleep Heightens Ringing Ear Disease Symptoms: Study
6. Adjusting Your Attitude About Chronic Pain May Help You Sleep
7. Excessive sleepiness may be cause of learning, attention and school problems
8. Study: Kids Who Sleep in Parents Bed Less Likely to Be Overweight
9. Sleepwalking in Adults More Common Than Thought
10. Pediatric epilepsy impacts sleep for the child and parents
11. Parents Often Lose Sleep Over Childs Epilepsy, Study Finds
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Lighter Sleep May Dull Memory Skills in Seniors
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dental professionals who would like to ... are invited to attend Dr. Mark Iacobelli’s Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM) CE course. Courses ... , As the co-founders of Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM), Dr. Iacobelli and Dr. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Wimbledon Health Partners, the industry leader ... Athletics Facebook page to educate the public, parents and school athletic departments ... people under the age of 25 die from sudden cardiac arrest every year. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Chicago, IL (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... the assets of Tri Lite’s personal heating products business. Cozy Products explains ... low-wattage personal heaters that fit in well with the Cozy Products business model: to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in both surgical and non-surgical treatments, announced the ... Spa at Hobgood Facial Plastic Surgery. , Highly trained and nationally recognized ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Brillianteen, McGaw YMCA’s student-produced ... in its 65th Anniversary Brillianteen Revue, scheduled for March 4-6, 2016. Auditions for ... years, Brillianteen has been a treasured tradition for numerous families in the Evanston ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Brain Monitoring ... offering. --> ) has ... Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a retail ... outcomes for patients suffering from chronic pain, said today ... Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from unilaterally ... --> --> The ... its legal options. --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... MELVILLE, N.Y. , Nov. 25, 2015  Henry ... products and services to office-based dental, medical and animal ... Dental (GNYDM) Meeting the Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion ... industry,s broadest array of open solutions designed to help ... Click here for a schedule of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: