Too Much or Too Little Sleep Tied to Memory Problems in Older Women05/01/14
THURSDAY, May 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors who slept too
little or too much during midlife or after are at increased risk
for memory problems, as are those whose sleep habits changed over
time, a new study suggests.
Researchers looked at more than 15,000 women, 70 and older, who
took part in a large study of health professionals. The women were
depression- and stroke-free when they underwent their initial
Participants who slept five hours or less, or nine hours or more
a day -- either in midlife or later life -- had worse memory than
those who slept seven hours a day. The difference in memory was
equivalent to nearly two extra years of age, the researchers
Women whose amount of sleep changed by more than two hours a
night over time had poorer memory than those who had no sleep
changes, according to the study published May 1 in the
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
"Given the importance of preserving memory into later life, it is critical to identify modifiable factors, such as sleeping habits, that may help achieve this goal," study leader Elizabeth Devore, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a hospital news release.
"Our findings suggest that getting an 'average' amount of sleep, seven hours per day, may help maintain memory in later life and that clinical interventions based on sleep therapy should be examined for the prevention of [mental] impairment," she added.
The study adds "to our knowledge about how sleep impacts memory.
More research is needed to confirm these findings and explore
possible mechanisms underlying these associations," Devore
While the study found an association between sleep time during
midlife and older age and memory function in older women, it did
not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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