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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Beware! A MUST READ: Lying idle in bed may cause memory loss

Sleep is simply a natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially suspended so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. This could be done at anytime of the day, but usually at night.
Inasmuch as there is need to put the mind and the body to rest, probably after the day’s work, as it is in most cases, a study has said that too many hours of sleep could lead to memory loss.

Beyond that, the study found out that spending an extra hour or two lounging around in bed after being awake could speed up memory loss and possibly increase the risk of dementia, which is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.
An extra hour or two spent lounging around in bed, which is a kind of treat that makes weekends special, may appear not too good because, according to the study, too many lie-ins could speed up memory loss.
It is worthy of note that the amount of sleep that people need varies significantly, depending on factors such as activity level, age, general health and lifestyle habits. Also sleep is essential as it qualifies as an integral part of daily activities, absence of which could lead to certain physical or emotional issues.
In the study, a team of researchers from the University Hospital in Madrid and Columbia University in New York carried out a three-year study of 2,700 people aged in their sixties and seventies. Through the three subsequent years, the respondents retained a depth and detailed document of their sleeping styles.
At the beginning of the investigation, each one was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination – a test designed to assess changes in brain function.
At the end of the experiment, the volunteers took the MMSE test again, and it was revealed that all the three groups, which they were shared into, got reduced or lower scores than they had done three years earlier.
The findings of the study showed that the difference between long and normal sleepers was significant in terms of their scores in the test and that their scores declined more rapidly.
However, the decline in brain function was greatest in the long sleepers – almost double that of the people having six to eight hours sleep per night.
The study revealed that 49 per cent were normal sleepers, getting six to eight hours a night, and 40 per cent were long sleepers – totalling more than nine hours a night.
According to the Director of Research and Development, Alzheimer’s Society, a research team, Dr. Doug Brown, “This research suggests that the length of time you sleep and the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses may be linked.”
He however explains that more research is necessary to have an understanding of whether rest duration is a cause or impact of cognitive decline.
According to netdoctor.co.uk, sleep can be divided into five different stages and people tend to go through stages one to four when they fall asleep and the reverse when they wake up and make transitions between the different stages through the night.
While stages one and two are regarded as light sleep, stages three and four are deep sleep through the night.
“During deep sleep, various restorative processes go on throughout the body. If we do not get enough deep sleep, we feel tired and ‘washed out.’ A fifth stage of sleep is called rapid eye movement sleep (REM) because although our eyes remain shut, they move around a lot during this stage. REM sleep is the time that we dream when we are asleep.
“Dreaming has important psychological effects, helping us to put things in order. The content of dreams often includes things that have recently happened to us or that we have recently been thinking about. Dreams may be a way of making sense of all of this.
“We normally undergo several cycles during the night moving through the various stages of sleep. We have most of our deep sleep in the first half of the night and REM sleep, when we dream. This explains why if you dose back to sleep in the morning, you will often wake and be aware of dreaming. It’s not uncommon to wake during the night. Normally, these wakenings are so brief that we are unaware of them,” the post claims.
Some respondents who spoke to Saturday Punch said they too had observed that they were less productive anytime they woke up and refused to get-up from bed.
Twenty-nine-year-old Deji Daniels said he had observed that he found it hard to plan his day or have speed in whatever he set out to do while lying on the bed.
According to a report posted on webmd.com, it is possible to get the benefits of sleep without oversleeping. It explains that even though not everyone who oversleeps has a sleep disorder, other possible causes of oversleeping include the use of certain substances, such as alcohol, some prescription medications, people who simply want to sleep a lot and medical conditions such as depression.
The post adds, “If your oversleeping is caused by alcohol or certain prescription medications, cutting back on or eliminating the use of these substances may help. Never stop a prescribed medicine, however, unless instructed to do so by your doctor. Similarly, if your oversleeping is caused by an underlying medical condition, treating this disorder may allow you to return to normal sleep habits.”
Reacting to the study, a psychologist, Prof. Olubamikole Fagboungbe explained that there is a portion in the brain, called Reticular Activating System, which controls sleeping and waking, hence, there could be a correlation between oversleeping and memory loss.
He said, “We sleep when the RAS shuts down and we wake when it is activated. What happens is if you sleep too much, you would be weakening the ability of the system to remain awake and it is when people are awake that the memory can function.
“When you receive information from the environment, it stays in the momory cell, from there to the short memory, and then to the long memory. So, what happens to those who sleep for too long is that messages will not go beyond the short memory, so it won’t be stored, and what is not stored in your memory cannot be retained and you cannot recall such, so that could account for it.”
He added that even though he had not read the study, in the traditional society, people do tell young ones not to sleep too much as this could make them end up being dull or unable to remember things as fast as they should.
He, however, explained that there is no fixed number of hours that could be deemed average for everyone due to individual differences.
“Even though everybody needs to rest, there are so many other variables we have to consider on issues like this, such as the nature of job, body constitution in terms of perpetual threshold, etc.
“If you examine your activities in a particular day and you could not perform to physiological limit, then it means you have not slept enough. The body needs rest, so for how long you rest is determined by you and a lot of activities you embark upon on daily basis,” he added.

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