Can sleep loss shrink your brain?

Sep 04, 2014, 15:50 IST | IANS

London: Adequate sleep could be a key indicator of sharpness as you age as researchers have found that sleep difficulties may be linked to faster rates of decline in brain volume.

Sleep difficulties were linked with a more rapid decline in brain regions, including frontal, temporal and parietal areas, the researchers said.

sleep loss
Representational picture

The results were more pronounced in people over 60 years old.

"It is not yet known whether poor sleep quality is a cause or consequence of changes in brain structure," said study author Claire Sexton from the University of Oxford in Britain.

The study included 147 adults between the ages of 20 and 84 years.

The researchers examined the link between sleep difficulties and brain volume.

"There are effective treatments for sleep problems, so future research needs to test whether improving people's quality of sleep could slow the rate of brain volume loss and improve brain health," Sexton noted.

The study appeared in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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