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Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories 180

jjp9999 writes "Recent findings published on Jan. 27 in the journal Nature Neuroscience may inspire you to get some proper sleep. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that REM sleep plays a key role in moving short term memories from the hippocampus (where short-term memories are stored) to the prefrontal cortex (where long-term memories are stored), and that degeneration of the frontal lobe as we grow older may play a key role in forgetfulness. 'What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older – and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue,' said UC Berkeley sleep researcher Matthew Walker."
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Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories

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  • Typo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @08:10AM (#42714135)

    If I'm reading the source article correctly, it has a big typo that propagated to the slashdot post. The source article abbreviated non-rapid eye movement to REM. It is deep stage 3 (delta) non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep that is important to memory, not REM sleep.

  • by nblender ( 741424 ) on Monday January 28, 2013 @10:01AM (#42714623)

    I also was diagnosed with sleep apnea... I was routinely waking up 1-4 times every night thinking I had to pee... It turns out my brain was waking up my body due to low O2 saturation, then the conscious part of my brain was saying "why am I awake? It must be because I have to pee" so I would...

    My sleep study showed that I stopped breathing 262 times in the short 4 hours of sleep with the recorder... So the 'cure' was CPAP which I just knew wasn't going to work for me... I went to a different sleep clinic and they prescribed a dental appliance which looks like this: []

    It brings the lower jaw forward which helps prevent constriction of your airway when you relax during sleep. It has an adjustment screw so you can fine tune it. You start with the screw all the way relaxed to become accustomed to wearing the appliance, and then slowly over time you turn it forward until you start to sleep well. Then you do a followup sleep study so they can compare and check the adjustment.

    I can travel with it, no sore throat in the morning, no whirring next to the bed, etc.

    The first night I had the appliance in, with the adjustment screw all the way relaxed, my wife kept waking up in a panic to check whether I was still breathing. I was no longer snoring and because that was a sound that was so pervasive in our marriage, she had trouble sleeping without hearing my snoring...

    Now after two years, I consistently sleep through the night and get a solid 7-8 hours each night. I no longer feel a need to nap in the afternoons or evenings. I can't say my memory is back to normal, though... But I put that down to my advanced age.

    After telling my dad about it, he got an appliance as well. He tried CPAP when he was first diagnosed but after a month or two of trying it, he was sleeping worse because of the damn machine and hoses and mask so he gave it up. The dental appliance changed his life. He's going on 18 months with it and his health has improved, his weight has improved, and he's finding it easier to keep his blood sugar under control.. The sleep clinic that initially prescribed and sold him the CPAP machine claimed to have heard of the dental appliances but said they didn't work so CPAP was the only solution. So he came into town and went to the clinic that I went to, to get his dental appliance.

    So if you can't tolerate CPAP, then consider talking to the sleep clinic about the dental appliances. Note: they're quite expensive and they're not the same as the cheap "boil and bite" ones, which don't last very long and don't allow you to adjust the offset of the lower jaw.

  • by Psyborgue ( 699890 ) on Monday January 28, 2013 @10:35AM (#42714851) Homepage Journal
    I read somewhere that it doesn't actually improve the quality of your sleep []. Plus. Wouldn't you wake up with a hangover?
  • by GuyverIV ( 240206 ) on Monday January 28, 2013 @01:28PM (#42716799)

    I was going to post anonymous, but recovered my ancient log-in so that you'd at least have a "face" for this drive-by. I don't even know why I'm posting, other than my brother did something similar, but at least he had the minimum courage to tell his wife the reasons as he was leaving. I'd never been quite so disappointed in him when I heard he just walked away... So, what you wrote hit something in my heart of hearts, so, here goes random helpful internet guy...

    I'm so sorry to hear how you were hurt. I don't know why people do hurtful things like that. There's no excuse for abandoning someone that cares for you and that you've cared for in the past.

    I'm sorry the hurt is still with you. I hope you're getting help, and if not, PLEASE get help. Some may say it's appropriate for you to have problems while you "mourn" the loss of your loved one, but if you've been in so much pain that it STILL troubles your sleep, for over a year, that's not "normal mourning."

    Your brain can do amazingly bad things to you, and like most brain disorders, it's really hard to realize that you may need help. The mind loves to lie to itself, to reassure itself that while things aren't "right," they're not *THAT* bad. But it might just be. You may need more than just *struggle* to get through this. I'm not talking meds (though they may help too, they did for my own issues), I'm talking a licensed therapist at the least, a shrink if you can get one.

    This is a link [] to a project that looks to connect people with therapists who practice based on Evidence and published data. I'm specifically posting a link to non-religious therapists, not to cause trouble, but because even if you may be religious, and may indeed find a good religious therapist, it's also possible their beliefs may conflict with yours, and may cause more pain than balm. I think it makes sense to start with a therapist that doesn't even have religion as a component, then discuss introducing that as part of your therapy later, should you desire it.

    As alone as you may feel, as worthless and petty as far, FAR too many people are, there are *good* people out there. People who can more than make up for the scumbags out there, who will trip over themselves to help you, if they just know you are in need.

    If you're not sure you need help, if you think you're *probably* ok, or *mostly* ok, try to get help anyways... if you really are fine, than the worst that can happen is they agree with you, right?

    This was a much bigger post than I intended, stranger/friend. And you may never see it or read it. I hope you do. I hope that you're not alone with your pain, and if you are, that maybe for a moment my words make you feel less so. And if you need it, I hope you decide my completely unsolicited advice is, instead of insulting, a kind-of tool, another way for you to help yourself.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll