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Erratic sleep may affect memory later: Study

Posted on May 01 2014 | IANS

New York, May 1 : In your 40s and miss on that crucial sleep either because of erratic lifestyle or odd working hours? Get your sleep habits back in shape as extreme changes in sleep duration from middle age to older age may worsen memory function.

In a study on 15,263 women participants, researchers found that women who slept five or fewer hours either in midlife or later life had worse memory than those sleeping seven hours per day.

"Women whose sleep duration changed by greater than two hours per day over time had worse memory than women with no change in sleep duration," said Elizabeth Devore, an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in the US.

Participants were female nurses and were free of stroke and depression at the initial cognitive assessment.

"Given the importance of preserving memory into later life, it is critical to identify modifiable factors, such as sleeping habits, that may help achieve this goal," Devore stated.

Getting an 'average' amount of sleep, seven hours per day, may help maintain memory in later life.

Greater changes in sleep duration appear to negatively influence memory in older adults, the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, noted.

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