Good Sleep and Good Memory
Older women who slept too little or too much from their middle years and beyond are at increased risk for memory problems, as are those whose sleep habits changed over time.
Researchers found that women who sleep for less than five hours per day, or more than nine hours per day, had worse memory, equivalent to nearly two additional years of age, than those sleeping seven hours per day.
They also found that women whose sleep duration changed by greater than two hours per day over time had worse memory than women with no change in sleep duration.
Considering the importance of preserving memory later in life, it is important to find modifiable factors, such as sleeping habits, that may help to that end. Researcher’s findings suggest that getting an 'average' amount of sleep, seven hours per day, may help maintain memory in later life.
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 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
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.
Still another study found that chronic sleep disturbances may speed up the onset of dementias and Alzheimer's disease in older adults. Chronic sleep disturbances can be caused by factors like insomnia, overnight work shifts, and other health conditions.
Obviously, poor health can keep older adults from getting a good night's sleep. Painful conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis, or wakefulness due to anxiety and depression can have us fruitlessly counting sheep into the night. But we now also realize more than ever that it works the other way as well. Poor sleep in return hastens the progression of the very health problems that keep us awake, and many other diseases that are more common as we grow older: heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders, memory loss, Parkinson's disease, hypertension, diabetes…the list is long. Poor sleep also raises the risk of falls, which can have devastating consequences.
Seniors often spend more time in bed than their younger counterparts, but nighttime sleep is typically shallow and fragmented. Later in life, REM sleep declines gradually by about 10 minutes per decade. Sleep fragmentation, as measured by wake time, increases by 30 minutes per decade during late life.
To put it simply, sleep is needed to clear the brain’s short-term memory storage and make room for new information. Fact-based memories are temporarily stored in the brain’s hippocampus region before being sent to the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which may have more storage space. So if your "inbox” in your hippocampus is full, until you sleep to move those facts onward, you cannot take any more facts in!
Studies have shown that people who spend more than 9 or 10 hours in bed have sleep that often fragmented and not of good quality. So, for both too little and too much sleep, the actual important number may be the total hours of quality sleep.
Poor sleep quality is very common in people with dementia. Perhaps this is also true for older people with impaired memory and thinking that sometimes leads to dementia. If so, then poorer memory and thinking test performance, such as what was seen in some of the nurses, could reflect brain changes that also caused the altered sleep patterns.
It may work both ways. Sleep quality affects memory and thinking, and the brain changes that cause memory and thinking problems also disturb sleep patterns.
Remember that alcohol won’t help you sleep. Even small amounts make it harder to stay asleep.
An excellent 100% natural solution to healthy sleep is Sleep All Nite Naturals™ (click here to view). A great way to achieve better sleep and better health, it’s formulated with 12+ ingredients that let you drift into a restful slumber and wake up feeling revitalized, (with a mind clear of grogginess).
Variation in hormone levels can have huge effects on how we feel, think, and function. Hormone levels in women begin to drop off as early as age 30 and plummet from there, with a woman’s testosterone levels being the first to fall. Menstruation becomes unpredictable, mood swings occur, signs of PMS develop, hair begins to thin, and weight gain starts to be a stubborn problem.
We recommend starting with the natural approach. Our experience shows the most thorough and lasting way to manage symptoms of hormonal imbalance is to listen to your body and build a strong foundation through lifestyle and nutrition.
Menopause and the symptoms associated with it can severely disrupt your quality of life.
A wonderful natural formula to help you live a longer, healthier life is Women’s Natural Balance (click here to view), a safe, and effective daily supplement that contains many of the top ingredients. This specially blended formula contains many safe azsand all natural substances that include black cohosh, soy isoflavones, red clover, Mexican yams and red raspberry extract.