I talk quite a bit about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with family and friends. Our parents are drifting into cognitive impairment, asking the same questions again and again and struggling to find words to express themselves, and we wonder if we’re destined for the same fate.
The concern may be justified in middle-aged adults with chronically poor sleep, according to new research on sleep and two proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s more about the study and its relevance to people with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
An acoustic device may be able to accomplish for older adults what sleeping pills still cannot: enhance both sleep and memory.
Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago conducted a study of 13 healthy older adults whose sleep deepened and whose recall of word pairs improved with timed acoustic stimulation at night. The discovery holds promise not just for older people with insomnia but also for everyone concerned about aging and memory impairment.
Could more deep sleep be the solution to insomnia? Investigators have toyed with the idea for years. People with insomnia tend not to get as much deep, or slow-wave, sleep as normal sleepers. Finding a way to prolong slow-wave sleep might make our sleep feel sounder and more restorative.
Last week’s discovery of a sleep node in the brainstem associated with the initiation of slow-wave sleep is promising news in this regard.
Do you remember your dreams?
People who recall certain types of dreams—those in which they’re rehearsing a skill like riding a unicycle or skiing downhill—have a leg up on people who do not recall such dreams. They’re generally able to master skills faster.
We all know memory loss is part of aging, and that glimmerings of compromise start appearing in middle age.
A new study by sleep researchers in California suggests that age-related memory loss is caused by changes in sleep, and that remedies being developed to improve sleep may help us remember more.