People who get more and better-quality sleep in early and middle adulthood show better cognitive functioning later in life, according to a study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science.
As people age, they generally sleep for shorter periods of time and also experience less slow-wave sleep, which is important for memory. The researchers wanted to see if these changes affected cognitive functioning.
The researchers reviewed over 200 studies that analyzed the association between sleep and cognitive functioning. Participants were grouped by age: Young (aged 18-29 years), middle age (aged 30-60 years), and old (aged ≥60 years). The researchers looked at average hours of sleep per night, average time to fall asleep, frequency of waking up at night, and tiredness levels during the day.
After analyzing the results from all the studies, the researchers found that those in the young and middle-aged groups got more and better-quality sleep compared with the older group.
Additionally, some of the studies indicated that good sleep quality in middle age predicted better cognitive functioning later in life. However, it appears that good sleep quality in the older group does not influence cognitive function, as studies showed that older people’s sleep quality did not affect their memory.
The results raise questions about sleep quality early in life, indicating the possibility that improving sleep could help delay or reverse age-related cognitive changes.
Investing in good-quality sleep as a young or middle-aged adult may be key for a good memory later in life, according to a new study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
The association between sleep and cognitive functioning has been extensively researched, and it is becoming increasingly accepted that sleep affects learning and memory ability.
In June last year, Medical News Today reported on a study claiming sleep helps strengthen memory after learning, while most recently, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found daytime naps may help young infants remember newly learned skills and behavior.