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Study ties poor sleep to reduced memory performance in older adults

Variability in sleep time, reduced sleep quality, affect ability to recall information

researchers study sleep and memory

Study helps understand potential connection between poor sleep and memory declines.


July 5, 2019

A new study has found that variability in night-to-night sleep time and reduced sleep quality adversely affect the ability of older adults to recall information about past events.

Although further investigation will be needed to confirm the results of the pilot study, the findings could help open a new area of research aimed at understanding the potential connection between poor sleep and the memory declines associated with aging. The study underscores the importance of sleep in maintaining good cognitive functioning.

"The night-to-night variability in the older study participants had a major impact on their performance in tests aimed at evaluating episodic memory," said Audrey Duarte, principal investigator in the Memory and Aging Lab at the Georgia Tech School of Psychology. "The association between sleep and memory has been known, but this study's novelty is showing that the connection is particularly evident for older adults and black participants, regardless of age."

The research, supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, was reported in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

--  NSF Public Affairs, (703) 292-8070 media@nsf.gov