Older adults less affected by sleep deprivation than younger adults during cognitive performance

Jun 10, 2009

According to a research abstract that will be presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, older adults are able to retain better cognitive functioning during sleep deprivation than young adults.

Results indicate that older adults (ages 59 through 82 years) showed more resiliency to total sleep deprivation (TSD) than young adults (ages 19 to 38 years) on a range of measures of cognitive performance, including working memory, selective attention/inhibition and verbal encoding and retrieval. Performance of young adults significantly declined on all three tasks during TSD while that of older adults did not change significantly.

According to principal investigator Sean Drummond, PhD, at the UCSD/VA in San Diego, Calif., older adults may have performed better because only very healthy people were included from that age group, which may have caused a selection bias that does not exist in younger adults.

"It may be that older adults who remain the healthiest late in life are less vulnerable to a variety of stressors, not just sleep loss," said Drummond.

The study included 33 older adults and 27 younger adults. The performance of older and younger adults was compared on three distinct cognitive tasks before and after 36 hours of sleep deprivation.

According to Drummond, sacrificing sleep to study or work is a false-trade off; findings of this study and many others show that produces impaired performances across a variety of different tests.

Source: American Academy of Medicine (news : web)

Explore further: Tip-over furniture can kill kids

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sleep disturbances among the elderly linked to suicide

Jun 14, 2007

Self-reported sleep complaints among the elderly serve as a risk factor for completed suicide, according to a research abstract that will be presented Thursday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional ...

Night shift nurses more likely to have poor sleep habits

Jun 11, 2007

Nurses who work the night shift are more likely to have poor sleep habits, a practice that can increase the likelihood of committing serious errors that can put the safety of themselves as well as their patients at risk, ...

Recommended for you

Research looks to combat US Latina immigrant obesity

9 hours ago

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, comprising 16.7% of the population. Approximately one-third of Latinos are obese and are 1.2 times as likely to be obese compared ...

User comments : 0