Daily News: Aging

Sleep problems linked to memory functions in older people

Asian News International

06-30-14

Washington, June 27 (ANI): A new study has found that sleep problems in old people increases as their memory and executive functions get worse with age.

University of Warwick researchers analysed sleep and cognitive (brain function) data from 3,968 men and 4,821 women who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), who reported on the quality and quantity of sleep over the period of a month.

In adults aged between 50 and 64 years of age, short sleep (less than 6hrs per night) and long sleep (more than 8hrs per night) were associated with lower brain function scores, while in older adults (65-89 years), lower brain function scores were only observed in long sleepers.

Dr Michelle A Miller said that 6-8 hours of sleep per night is particularly important in younger adults for optimum brain function as it helps physical health, lowers the risk of developing obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Dr Miller concluded that if poor sleep was causative of future cognitive decline, non-pharmacological improvements in sleep may provide an alternative low-cost and more accessible Public Health intervention, to delay or slow the rate of cognitive decline.

Professor Francesco Cappuccio added that optimising sleep at an older age may help to delay the decline in brain function seen with age, or indeed may slow or prevent the rapid decline that leads to dementia.

The study is published in PLOS ONE. (ANI)

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