Why does sleep become disrupted in old age?

March 26, 2018, Society for Neuroscience
Why does sleep become disrupted in old age?
Local neural oscillations during sleep are not affected by ageing. Credit: McKillop et al., JNeurosci (2018)

The brain maintains its ability to generate local neural oscillations during sleep throughout the lifespan, according to a study of young and old mice published in JNeurosci. The research indicates that age-related disruptions in sleep and associated large-scale brain activity, are not due to changes in the activity of individual neurons.

Vladyslav Vyazovskiy and colleagues recorded neural activity from deep layers of the motor cortex of groups of mice at different stages of life: early adulthood (5 months), late adulthood (12 months) and old age (24 months). The old age mice in this study are estimated to correspond to an age of roughly 70-years in humans.

The researchers did not find any major differences in the cortical neural activity during sleep across the three age groups. All mice also showed similar effects of on local sleep oscillations in the neocortex. These findings contrast with previous studies both in mice and humans showing that ageing is associated with a reduced capacity to generate , and highlight the need to consider activity at the level of , in addition to the whole-brain view, in order to fully understand the effects of ageing on sleep.

Local neural oscillations during sleep are not affected by ageing. Credit: Laura McKillop

Explore further: Sleep-deprived brains may be asleep and awake at the same time

More information: Effects of ageing on cortical neural dynamics and local sleep homeostasis in mice, JNeurosci (2018). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2513-17.2018

Related Stories

Sleep-deprived brains may be asleep and awake at the same time

January 4, 2018
For something that can occupy such a significant chunk of time, sleep still remains a mysterious part of our lives. Although it is known to play a role in mental and physical health, such as metabolism and memory, there is ...

'Waves' of neural activity give new clues about Alzheimer's

September 6, 2017
While unconscious during deep sleep, slow-wave neuron activity travels across the cerebral cortex. This phenomenon is related to the consolidation of memory. A European project called SloW Dyn, led by Spanish scientists, ...

Brain wave activity associated with circadian preferences

November 3, 2017
A new study from the University of Helsinki, Finland, shows that individual circadian preference is associated with brain activity patterns during the night.

Deep sleep critical for visual learning

October 4, 2017
Remember those "Magic Eye" posters from the 1990s? You let your eyes relax, and out of the tessellating structures, a 3-D image of a dolphin or a yin yang or a shark would emerge.

These carbon dioxide-sensing neurons wake up mice

January 29, 2018
Stimulating a population of neurons in the midbrain with carbon dioxide (CO2) awakens adult male mice without enhancing breathing, finds a study published in JNeurosci. These findings are relevant to understanding disorders ...

Recommended for you

New study finds 'timing cells' in the brain may underlie an animal's inner clock

October 23, 2018
Are you taking your time when feeding your pet? Fluffy and Fido are on to you—and they can tell when you are dawdling.

Neurons reliably respond to straight lines

October 23, 2018
Single neurons in the brain's primary visual cortex can reliably detect straight lines, even though the cellular makeup of the neurons is constantly changing, according to a new study by Carnegie Mellon University neuroscientists, ...

Scientists reveal new details of how a naturally occurring hormone can boost memory in aging mice

October 23, 2018
A Columbia study in mice has revealed new details of how a naturally occurring bone hormone reverses memory loss in the aging brain. These findings about the hormone, called osteocalcin, stand to spur further investigations ...

Mutation in common protein triggers tangles, chaos inside brain cells

October 23, 2018
A pioneer in the study of neural cells revealed today (Oct. 23, 2018) how a single mutation affecting the most common protein in a supporting brain cell produces devastating, fibrous globs. These, in turn, disturb the location ...

Nerve-on-a-chip platform makes neuroprosthetics more effective

October 23, 2018
EPFL scientists have developed a miniaturized electronic platform for the stimulation and recording of peripheral nerve fibers on a chip. By modulating and rapidly recording nerve activity with a high signal-to-noise ratio, ...

The smell of lavender is relaxing, science confirms

October 23, 2018
Lavender works its relaxing magic all around us: from garden borders to bath bombs to fabric softener. But why not in our hospitals and clinics? And what is the science behind the magic?

0 comments

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.