Monday May 27, 2019

Good Sleep, Mood Can Help You Stay Sharp in Old Age, Suggests New Research

These findings could lead to future interventions and treatments to counteract the negative impacts of these factors on working memory

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sleeping, impairment, inflammation, SLeep
Don't consume caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to sleep. Pixabay

Memory slips with age, but getting a fair amount of sleep every night and having a cheerful mood each day may help you stay sharp even when you grow old, suggests new research.

Poor sleep quality and a depressed mood are linked to a reduced likelihood of remembering a previously experienced event, said the study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

The researchers found strong associations between working memory and three health-related factors such as sleep, age and depressed mood.

Working memory is the part of short-term memory that temporarily stores and manages information required for cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning and comprehension.

Working memory is critically involved in many higher cognitive functions, including intelligence, creative problem-solving, language and action-planning. It plays a major role in how we process, use and remember information.

The study found that age is negatively related to the “qualitative” aspect of working memory — that is, how strong or how accurate the memory is.

“Other researchers have already linked each of these factors separately to overall working memory function, but our work looked at how these factors are associated with memory quality and quantity – the first time this has been done,” said Weiwei Zhang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside in the US.

Sleep deprivation can hurt performance and health. Wikimedia commons

“All three factors are interrelated. For example, seniors are more likely to experience negative mood than younger adults. Poor sleep quality is also often associated with depressed mood”, Zhang added.

The researchers performed two studies. In the first study, they sampled 110 college students for self-reported measures of sleep quality and depressed mood and their independent relationship to experimental measures of working memory.

In the second study, the researchers sampled 31 members of a community ranging in age from 21 to 77 years. In this study, the researchers investigated age and its relationship to working memory.

The researchers are the first to statistically isolate the effects of the three factors on working memory quantity and quality.

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Although all three factors contribute to a common complaint about foggy memory, they seem to behave in different ways and may result from potentially independent mechanisms in the brain.

These findings could lead to future interventions and treatments to counteract the negative impacts of these factors on working memory. (IANS)

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Kids Spending More Time in Watching TV Get Less Sleep

On an average, young children without TVs in their bedrooms slept 30 minutes more at night than those with a TV in their bedroom

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Pre-schoolers who watch less than one hour of TV per day get 22 more minutes of sleep at night — or nearly 2.5 hours per week — than those who watch more than an hour of TV daily, new research has found.

The study, published in Sleep Health, Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, suggests that TV use by young children affects the quality and duration of sleep, measured by an actigraphic device kids wore like a watch on their wrist.

Moreover, while daytime napping was found to increase among the kids who watched the most TV, it did not fully compensate for the lost sleep at night.

“The good news is, this is addressable. Parents assumed that TV was helping their kids wind down. But it didn’t work. Those kids weren’t getting good sleep, and it wasn’t helping them fall asleep better. It’s good to have this data,” said Rebecca Spencer, Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the US.

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Young kids who watch more TV get less sleep. Pixabay

A very diverse group of 470 pre-schoolers participated in the study, wearing actigraphs for up to 16 days. Their parents and caregivers answered questionnaires about demographics and the children’s health and behaviour, including detailed questions on TV use.

The findings showed that pre-schoolers who watch TV sleep significantly less than those who do not.

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On an average, young children without TVs in their bedrooms slept 30 minutes more at night than those with a TV in their bedroom, the study said.

The findings of the researchers come on the heels of new guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which say children between age 2 and 4 years should have no more than one hour of “sedentary screen time” daily – and less or no screen time is even better. (IANS)