Short sleep, aging brain

July 1, 2014
brain
White matter fiber architecture of the brain. Credit: Human Connectome Project.

Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore's rapidly ageing society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

Past research has examined the impact of on cognitive functions in . Though faster brain ventricle enlargement is a marker for and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, the effects of sleep on this marker have never been measured.

The Duke-NUS study examined the data of 66 older Chinese adults, from the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study(1). Participants underwent structural MRI brain scans measuring brain volume and neuropsychological assessments testing cognitive function every two years. Additionally, their sleep duration was recorded through a questionnaire. Those who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.

"Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging," said Dr June Lo, the lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow. "Work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day(2) for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In coming years we hope to determine what's good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health too," added Professor Michael Chee, senior author and Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.

The study is published in the journal SLEEP on July 1, 2014.

Explore further: Shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality linked to Alzheimer's disease biomarker

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Closing the loop with optogenetics

August 28, 2015

An engineering example of closed-loop control is a simple thermostat used to maintain a steady temperature in the home. Without it, heating or air conditioning would run without reacting to changes in outside conditions, ...

Self-control saps memory, study says

August 26, 2015

You're driving on a busy road and you intend to switch lanes when you suddenly realize that there's a car in your blind spot. You have to put a stop to your lane change—and quickly.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

inv_slepi
1 / 5 (2) Jul 01, 2014
but Issac newton was sleep 2 hours and half.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.