Poor Sleep Damages Memory: Study

Photo: Evan/Flickr

Sleep deprivation can leave a negative impact on memory, says a new study.

To analyse the link, a team of researchers from the Michigan State University and University of California in the US asked participants to narrate details of a simulated burglary after keeping them awake for one day.

Poor sleep was associated with distorted memory. People who didn’t sleep and those who slept less than five hours performed poorly and mixed up details than people who received recommended levels of sleep.

“We found memory distortion is greater after sleep deprivation,” co-investigator of the study Kimberly Fenn, said in a news release. “And people are getting less sleep each night than they ever have.”

“People who repeatedly get low amounts of sleep every night could be more prone in the long run to develop these forms of memory distortion,” Fenn added. “It’s not just a full night of sleep deprivation that puts them at risk.”

The study has been published in the journal Psychological Science.

Several studies in the past have shown similar results. In January last year, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found that poor sleep increased the risk of memory loss and brain deterioration in old people.  Another study published in April 2013 reported quality sleep improving memory in people.  Additionally, research has also shown that poor sleep damages skills related to focus and learning. It is when one sleeps that the memory gets consolidated for future use.

Highlighting the importance of sleep on health, experts at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke recommend adults to sleep for at least seven to eight hours every night.

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