Boosting sleep ‘may slow memory rot’
By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News
It may be possible to slow the decline in memory and learning as we age by tackling poor sleep, researchers hope. Their study, in the journal Nature Neuroscience, has revealed an intimate relationship between an ageing brain, sleep and memory. Experiments showed that changes in the ageing brain damaged the quality of deep sleep, this in turn hampered the ability to store memories. Scientists want to test ways of boosting sleep to halt memory decline. Wisdom may come with age, but both the brain and the body take the strain of time. Many people will be aware that both their memory and sleep are not as good as in their earlier years. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, said it was unknown whether changes in the brain, sleep and memory were all separate signs of ageing or deeply connected. They performed a series of experiments on 36 people – an even split of those in their twenties and their seventies.