I have posted numerous times on the value of a good night’s sleep in our daily lives. Click on How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep to see seven of them. Now comes the University of California at Berkeley with a report that helps to explain the connection between poor sleep, memory loss and brain deterioration as we grow older. The discovery may open the door to boosting the quality of sleep in seniors to improve their memory.
“UC Berkeley neuroscientists have found that the slow brain waves generated during the deep, restorative sleep we typically experience in youth play a key role in transporting memories from the hippocampus – which provides short-term storage for memories – to the prefrontal cortex’s longer term “hard drive.”
“However, in older adults, memories may be getting stuck in the hippocampus due to the poor quality of deep ‘slow wave’ sleep, and are then overwritten by new memories, the findings suggest.
““What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older – and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue,” said sleep researcher Matthew Walker, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and senior author of the study to be published this Sunday, Jan. 27, in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
“The findings shed new light on some of the forgetfulness common to the elderly that includes difficulty remembering people’s names. Continue reading