Sleeping Difficulties may be linked to Faster Brain Volume Decline

Sleeping Difficulties may be linked to Faster Brain Volume Decline

According to a study published in the journal Sleep, shortened sleep increases the ageing of brain in elderly.

It is very important to have proper sleep. If one is not able to have his share of sleep then a number of functions performed while he is asleep remains incomplete like muscle repair, consolidate memory and release of hormones that regulate growth and appetite.

Now, the new study added one more side-effect to the list and that is faster brain volume decline. As per researchers, every hour of reduced sleep in participants meant expansion of brain ventricles and decline in cognitive performance.

For the research, 147 participants aged between 20 and 84 years were enrolled. They were asked to complete sleep habit questionnaires. After around 3.5 years of interval, study researchers carried out two MRI brain scans on the study participants.

A number of things were assessed including how participants slept, how long it took to sleep at night, and any medicine used to aid sleep among other factors. Researchers found 35% of the participants were in the 'poor sleep quality' category. Out of 21, their average score was 8.5 points.

People who had sleep problems were also the ones that showed rapid decline in brain volume in regions including the frontal, temporal and parietal areas. These effects were more evident in people aged over 60.

Lead researcher Claire E. Sexton, from the University of Oxford in the UK, was of the view that for now, it is sure that poor sleep quality is the reason behind changes in brain structure. "There are effective treatments for sleep problems, so future research needs to test whether improving people's quality of sleep could slow the rate of brain volume loss", affirmed Sexton.

If it turns out to be true then improving sleeping habits of a person could help in strengthening his brain health.

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