Sleep Affects Your Working Memory! By Paul Fulmer, MD

A recent study reported in the journal Brain, showed that Parkinson’s patients improved their working memory if they had a good night sleep.  Working memory is what is required to organize, plan, solve problems and function in daily living.  This is a significant issue for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

The study looked at 54 patients with Parkinson’s disease to see the affects of sleep on their working memory.  What they found was that if a patient had sleep apnea and interfered with their slow wave sleep (the deepest level of sleep), they had significantly more difficulty with their working memory.  However, as they improved their slow wave sleep duration by treating their apnea, their memory improved.

This is similar with other studies showing that the slow wave sleep is needed to allow the brain to reorganize and make new connections.  So, if sleep disorders are addressed in Parkinson’s patients, then there is a good chance that their working memory will improve.

This is exciting news for these patients and their caregivers, as this is one area that can become frustrating over time.  As their memory deteriorates, then so does their ability to function in daily tasks of living.  Moreover, just think of the implications for the rest of us.  If getting good sleep improves your memory, ability to organize, solve problems and process information, we all need a good night’s sleep!

So, if you or a loved one is noticing memory issues, forgetting things and overall frustrated with how they are dealing with daily tasks, make sure they are getting enough sleep.  Not only that, but make sure they are sleeping well!  If they snore, are restless or even have symptoms of sleep apnea (stopping breathing at night), they should get this looked at by their physician as this could be affecting their slow wave sleep.

The Snoring Center is here to help in any way we can to improve our patient’s sleep.  So if these issues raise concern, give us a call and we can help you get a better night’s sleep.

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