Sleeps Plays a Major Role in Memory Issues

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Scott:  Doctor, you touched on this earlier before we started, but how big
of an issue are sleep problems when it comes to memory and cognition either
at present or down the line as we get older?

Professor Liu:  Yeah. So actually, this is another surprise about the
sleep. Actually, when I started to look at the human memory system, I was
originally looking from a molecular point of view, looking at one molecule,
and which (inaudible 00:00:29). But recently, I found the sleep seems to be
an important issue to be worried about it. Obviously, for (inaudible
00:00:39) and if you lost sleep and the day after you lost the sleep and
you feel tired not energetic. If we carry out a memory test, (inaudible
00:00:52) you may not perform that well, even a normal person.

Now, actually, it's typical if you ask any person when they're getting old,
you say, "Well, number one is when you are young, you probably sleep seven
hours unless you set an alarm for whatever you have, work, to do. But if
you (inaudible 00:01:10) your sleep pattern, a lot of people sleep seven to
eight hours. Of course, if you're a baby you sleep for 20 hours, but when
you're getting old, actually, the number of our deep sleep actually is

So recent studies show when you actually have a light sleep or sleep very
shallow, your brain will not fully recover. That rapidly impacts your
memory function the day after your sleep. So, we think, actually (inaudible
00:01:42) before we say, "Oh, well you're getting old. You should sleep
less," you might even consider that's normal because children sleep 20
hours, and young adults sleep eight hours or ten hours. When you're getting
old you gradually sleep less and less. You might feel, "So what? That's
just part of aging."

But our research and other people's research shows when you actually have
less and less sleep, that prevents the brain recovery from daily activity.
So from that angle, if we can increase the amount of sleep per night for
the aging population, it's going to help their cognitive function
(inaudible 00:02:26).

We seem to sleep less the more we age. Could that be a reason for cognitive decline when we get older? Dr. Guosong Liu discusses the importance of sleep when it comes to memory and cognitive decline.

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