Posts filed under ‘Sleep’

Take A Nap For Your Memory

Caught In The Act! Napping photo by k_vohsen on Stock.Xchng I grew up with a pretty negative view of napping – catching a few extra Z’s at work, school or even on a weekend was treated as lazy and indulgent, tolerated only if someone is sick or seriously overworked.

But evidence is piling up that naps are not only good for general brain health, but  can improve our  memory and actually make us smarter. The longer we stay awake, the slower our minds seem to function – and this is true whether we’re pulling all-nighters or just staying awake during a normal working day.

In a new study led by Matthew Walker  of UC Berkeley, researchers separated 39 healthy adults into two groups.  Both groups were put through a mentally taxing study session at noon, requiring them to connect faces and names.   Both groups did about as well on their tasks this first time around.

But at 2pm, one of the groups was sent to take an hour and a half nap, while the other group stayed awake. (more…)

February 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm 4 comments

Getting Good Zzzz’s: More On Sleep Apnea and Brain Damage

Image by tizwas01 on Stock.Xchng Last week, I speculated about the potential for sleep apnea to stress and potentially damage the brain. (see Could Snoring Be Damaging Your Brain?)

I’ll be honest – I thought I was stretching things a bit.  There just weren’t a lot of studies on the subject, except for a curious link between the breathing/sleep disorder and Alzheimer’s. My thoughts were based the idea on the way apnea disrupts sleep and causes stress responses in the body and brain, both known to lead to problems in cognitive function.

But this week?
Well, I’m feeling a bit prescient.

A new study just came out of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.that confirms a link between sleep apnea and brain damage. (more…)

February 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Could Snoring Be Damaging Your Brain?

Unhappy Bed: image by michelsick on Stock.Xchng Snoring, that night time bane of bed partners, may be doing more than irritating our spouses.  It’s frequently (but not always!) a sign of sleep apnea, a condition where sleepers stop breathing many times during the night, disrupting the quality of their sleep and jolting them awake for a brief, sometimes un-noticeable instant.

In terms of brain fitness, it’s a pretty serious issue.


January 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Make Your Brain Happy: Replace That Old Mattress!

Replace Your Mattress!  Image by WebMonster on Stock.Xchng Replacing your mattress may seem like an odd subject to find on a brain fitness site, but the quality and amount of sleep that you get directly impacts your brain’s health and well being. Not only does sleeping poorly affect your cognitive function the following day, but in the long run, can interfere with your brains ability to repair and protect itself.  According to new studies, long term sleep deprivation may even increase your risk for Alzheimer’s.

And one of the major (and often overlooked)  contributors to poor sleep is a worn out mattress, or one that simply doesn’t support your body well.

How do you know if you need a new mattress?

  • If it feels lumpy or sags.
  • If you wake up achey or sore.
  • If you toss and turn trying to fall asleep.
  • If small movements of your partner in bed wake or disturb you.
  • If the cover is torn, worn, or stitching is coming out (this in itself may not be a problem, but it’s evidence that the mattress is at the end of it’s lifespan)
  • If it’s more than 8-10 years old, consider replacing it just based on age.

Other (icky!) things to consider about old mattresses and how they can disrupt your sleep? Bedbugs and dustmites!


January 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Sounds, Scents & Sleep: A Memory Boost?

image Remember all of those  old “Learn while you sleep!” programs, the ones that promised to fill your  college-age mind with information via a instructional cassette tapes  tucked under your pillow?  Yeah, they didn’t work for me either. But according to some recent studies, there may actually be some effective ways to boost your memory and recall while asleep… and yes, one of them uses recorded sounds!

Here’s the deal.

The researchers took a smallish group of people, and had them learn the correct locations for  50 different images on a computer screen by moving them into place.  Each image was also associated with a sound, like a bark for a dog, or the sound of waves for the ocean.

Then, the group took a nap.


December 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Power Naps: A Sleep Solution

The brain needs sleep for good cognitive function – skimping on your nightly Zzzz’s for even one night can affect your focus and memory, and scientists Well Rested!  have recently drawn a link between ongoing sleep deprivation and the development of Alzheimer’s plaques.

But no matter how important it may be, insomnia troubles many of us, and life’s schedules and health problems don’t always allow for a full and restful night’s sleep.   As we age, many of us experience trouble getting enough rest.

One solution? Power Naps – an idea that even NASA is on board with. (more…)

October 15, 2009 at 1:13 pm 1 comment

Get Your Zzzz’s: Sleep Deprivation & Alzheimer’s

Dog Tired!  Image by mmagallan on Stock.Xchng For quite some time now, researchers have known that sleep is important to the brain.  It’s pretty obvious even to regular people, like us – without enough sleep, we quickly start mentally stumbling around, losing focus and dulling our cognitive functions.

Researchers have also known that Alzheimer’s patients often have difficulty sleeping – but they’ve always  assumed that the poor sleep was caused by the disease. But a new study suggests that poor sleep habits may actually contribute to the process that leads to developing Alzheimer’s in the first place.

Here’s what happens: (more…)

September 29, 2009 at 1:35 pm 6 comments

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About This Blog

A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness



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