A SURVEY OF THE ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN SLEEP AND MEMORY IN DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS
Andrew P. Smith PhD*
Background: It is well established that memory problems increase with age and that sleep disorders are also associated with problems with memory. The interaction between aging and sleep problems has received less attention. Aims: The present study examined the effects of age and sleep problems on subjective reports of memory problems by conducting a secondary analysis of epidemiological data. The aims were to examine the main effects and interactions of these factors. Methods: A secondary analysis was carried out on a sub-sample of respondents from an epidemiological study of people in South Wales, UK. A young group (age: <30 years N =2300) was compared with an older group (age: > 70 years N=576). Sleep problems were measured by the presence of self-reported sleep disturbance, sleep duration and use of sleeping pills. The frequency of subjective memory problems was measured using a 5-point rating scale. Results: The results showed that the older group reported more memory problems, as did those with sleep problems. Some interactions between these groups were significant, with the difference between the younger and older groups being smaller in those with sleep problems. Conclusions: Memory problems increased with age and are more prevalent in those with sleep disorders. The age difference was smaller in those with sleep problems.
Keywords: Aging; Sleep problems; Memory problems.
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