Lack of Sleep Harms Memory in Seniors

Studies about older people show that memory diminishes with age. The Louisville, Courier-Journal reported that older people experience difficultly in learning new tasks or remembering simple routines, like where they left their keys.

A new study from the University of California at Berkeley illustrates that lighter sleep can have a big effect on the memory process. Older people get less deep sleep than younger people, a possible direct link to memory disruption.

The study's author, Matthew Walker, a neuroscience and psychology professor at Berkeley's University of California told the Louisville Courier-Journal:"In young adults, sleep was doing an excellent job at not letting those memories dissolve." He continued: "Sleep wasn't as effective in the elderly. Consequentially, they have far more severe problems with forgetting. A significant reason was because of the quality of their deep sleep."

The researchers said the older adults scored 55% less on the memory test after sleeping. This difference becomes noticeable in situations that demand consistently high performance

Good sleep is important before and after learning to create new memories for long-term application. A psychology professor at Northwestern University who specializes in sleep, said sleep disruption in older adults can be due to aches, pains, and bladder problems, becoming an issue in daily memory function.