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Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the so-if-you're-reading-this-go-to-bed dept.

Science 180

jjp9999 writes "Recent findings published on Jan. 27 in the journal Nature Neuroscience may inspire you to get some proper sleep. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that REM sleep plays a key role in moving short term memories from the hippocampus (where short-term memories are stored) to the prefrontal cortex (where long-term memories are stored), and that degeneration of the frontal lobe as we grow older may play a key role in forgetfulness. 'What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older – and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue,' said UC Berkeley sleep researcher Matthew Walker."

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Yeah, but how to get sleep (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714077)

Some people just don't sleep well.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714137)

I agree, oranges are the tastiest fruit.

Yawn...

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714327)

I agree, oranges are the tastiest fruit.

Yawn...

But never forget Oranges are not the only fruit [wikipedia.org]

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (4, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714173)

See a sleep specialist. If you don't sleep well, there's probably a reason. For many overweight people, the problem is sleep apnea, caused by the airway being obstructed, which the body reacts to by waking up. A different sleeping position, a device worn over the mouth and nose to help keep the airway open, and/or losing weight can help. (I know about this from a friend who suffers from this problem, but isn't willing to do anything about it. And not coincidentally has been suffering from increasing Can't Remember Shit Syndrome.)

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (5, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714223)

If he has sleep apnea, it can lead to a marked increase in his risk for heart attacks. With severe sleep apnea, your body senses your blood O2 saturation dropping and wakes you up in a panic thinking you're dying (seriously). That sort of 'night of 1000 deaths' leads to high cortisol levels and all sorts of other nasty things. I assume you probably already have, but urge him to at least have a sleep study done - that may show him that a simple CPAP machine can return his sleep patterns to normal. It quite literally saved my life.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714391)

He's had sleep studies done. They gave him a CPAP, and he just whined that it was uncomfortable, and fretted about it being embarrassing to wear to bed with someone (not exactly an immediate danger). The guy's got "issues".

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714455)

Any decent prospective partner would understand. It's better to sound a little like Darth Vader than snore like a freight train.

Funny story - a female friend, my wife and I spent 3 weeks in Scotland, and this was the first time I'd taken my CPAP on a trip. We spent the night in Edinburgh on Prince's Street (the Old Waverly, I think it was). I was relegated to the outer bedroom, and the ladies got the one with the two beds.

I was shocked out of my mind the next morning when I opened my eyes to see some guy in the room with me looking like he had the creature from Alien on his face [respshop.com] . I hadn't realized when I went to bed that there was a full-length mirror on the wall next to the bed. Naturally that was me in my CPAP mask.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714553)

Are you sure it is supposed to sound like Darth Vader? Because mine sings something about travelling the world and watching me through a camera.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

jedimark (794802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714749)

If they are still sounding like Darth vader, they probably have the wrong mask fit, or using a nasal mask and unintentionally sleeping with their mouth hanging open. A good CPAP machine will track leaks on an SD card or similar.

I still get driven nuts by the sound of the machines fan ramping up slightly whenever I breath in. Wife doesn't seem to notice it, but most of the time I need the ceiling fan on full bore.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (4, Informative)

nblender (741424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714623)

I also was diagnosed with sleep apnea... I was routinely waking up 1-4 times every night thinking I had to pee... It turns out my brain was waking up my body due to low O2 saturation, then the conscious part of my brain was saying "why am I awake? It must be because I have to pee" so I would...

My sleep study showed that I stopped breathing 262 times in the short 4 hours of sleep with the recorder... So the 'cure' was CPAP which I just knew wasn't going to work for me... I went to a different sleep clinic and they prescribed a dental appliance which looks like this:

http://www.sleepandhealth.com/sites/www.sleepandhealth.com/files/images/Article_images/TAP.jpg [sleepandhealth.com]

It brings the lower jaw forward which helps prevent constriction of your airway when you relax during sleep. It has an adjustment screw so you can fine tune it. You start with the screw all the way relaxed to become accustomed to wearing the appliance, and then slowly over time you turn it forward until you start to sleep well. Then you do a followup sleep study so they can compare and check the adjustment.

I can travel with it, no sore throat in the morning, no whirring next to the bed, etc.

The first night I had the appliance in, with the adjustment screw all the way relaxed, my wife kept waking up in a panic to check whether I was still breathing. I was no longer snoring and because that was a sound that was so pervasive in our marriage, she had trouble sleeping without hearing my snoring...

Now after two years, I consistently sleep through the night and get a solid 7-8 hours each night. I no longer feel a need to nap in the afternoons or evenings. I can't say my memory is back to normal, though... But I put that down to my advanced age.

After telling my dad about it, he got an appliance as well. He tried CPAP when he was first diagnosed but after a month or two of trying it, he was sleeping worse because of the damn machine and hoses and mask so he gave it up. The dental appliance changed his life. He's going on 18 months with it and his health has improved, his weight has improved, and he's finding it easier to keep his blood sugar under control.. The sleep clinic that initially prescribed and sold him the CPAP machine claimed to have heard of the dental appliances but said they didn't work so CPAP was the only solution. So he came into town and went to the clinic that I went to, to get his dental appliance.

So if you can't tolerate CPAP, then consider talking to the sleep clinic about the dental appliances. Note: they're quite expensive and they're not the same as the cheap "boil and bite" ones, which don't last very long and don't allow you to adjust the offset of the lower jaw.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714703)

Sleep Apnea and high blood pressure both cause frequent nighttime urination. Also, sleep apnea causes high blood pressure. Take care of either of these and you'll sleep better. I got my blood pressure under control and pissed less frequently at night, and I pick up my CPAP this week. I had a 100 breathing episodes an hour during my sleep test!

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714791)

If he has sleep apnea, it can lead to a marked increase in his risk for heart attacks. With severe sleep apnea, your body senses your blood O2 saturation dropping and wakes you up in a panic thinking you're dying (seriously). That sort of 'night of 1000 deaths' leads to high cortisol levels and all sorts of other nasty things. I assume you probably already have, but urge him to at least have a sleep study done - that may show him that a simple CPAP machine can return his sleep patterns to normal. It quite literally saved my life.

And you should add to that the sleep apnea can be caused by a number of things, but one of the chief causes is obesity.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (4, Interesting)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714341)

Which is stupid. I myself have got sleap apnea and the first time I tried that CPAP device was the first time in years I felt actually rested in the morning. The difference in life quality is enormous - it was like I was a zombie before and now alive again. That feeling alive has helped me to pick up sports and to lose over 50 kg, the only thing I regret is not starting the therapy earlier.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (5, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714415)

I just use a lot of alcohol. Drink a 5th of rum every night and you sleep like a baby until morning, unless you have to wake up to puke, but if you did it right you don't even wake up for that.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714475)

With your method you still get brain damage.

But you're not even remembering it.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714537)

Honestly, alcohol is exactly what I thought of when I read the summary. In college, I drank a lot more than I should have, and I would notice that the next morning I would occasionally have blurred memories (and occasionally, terrifyingly, lost memories) of things that had happened the previous day, *prior* to when I started drinking.

My hypothesis at the time was pretty much exactly what the summary to TFA says: I slept like crap (I was unconscious, but the quality of sleep was awful), and my brain couldn't get its shit together. Of course, I was too drunk and too much of an English major to put together a proper experiment, much less publish. Oh well.

The lesson: alcohol has many vectors to make you stupid, so only drink it if you're too smart for your own good.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714561)

And then sometimes you never wake up! Isn't that right, Hendrix.. Morrison... Bonham?

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714853)

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

jedimark (794802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714645)

Lucky guy.. :)

For me is wasn't that dramatic. Over a year on CPAP for moderate sleep apnea and I'm still as scatterbrained as hell.

The best I get is a reduction in daily headaches, which I find a pretty damn good reason to continue with CPAP. One nap off the hose and I know about it (along everyone else around me.. grrrrr.)

Weight loss is a huge health bonus for people with sleep disorders. It's also freaking hard to do. Congrats.

It probably wasn't helping him anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714821)

Sure, they say that CPAP is highly effective for those who follow through with the treatment, but that's likely true simply because only those who CPAP helps will stick with it. Those who it doesn't help are going to say "to hell with this" after a few weeks.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (4, Interesting)

jedimark (794802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714681)

I found it's a good thing to scare the crap out of them with an overnight oximetry reading. Cheap data recording oximeters are dirt cheap on ebay, and a good gift/loan for someone worth caring about.

Does wonders for the die hard denialists seeing the blood oxygen saturation drop to near death levels multiple times throughout the night.

Even more hilarious is showing people a cam recording of them stopping breathing while they sleep, with all the gory choking sounds.

Usually after seeing or hearing all that, they are off to the doc to book a sleep test.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714701)

Losing weight is the main thing. if you're so obese that you need to strap on a device to keep you breathing through all the lard, it's time to completely change your lifestyle.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714219)

Some people just don't sleep well.

Good question. Rollerblinds to achieve maximum darkness, no LEDs shining in the room. Fresh air, fresh sheets. Comfortable temperature. Maybe watch an ASMR video [youtube.com] to relax before going to sleep. Eat a bit before going to sleep. Medication can be very helpful too. Just my two cents.

Or maybe it's the inverse... (1)

xTantrum (919048) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714423)

...maybe it's that our brain deteriorates as we age and thus memories are not stored as effectively. Same thing goes for the 'celia' in our ears, we start losing them from birth, plain and simple.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714309)

Read slashdot comments

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714355)

Try oxyracetam. It makes me sleep so well and that is probably why it improves memory. No side effects either, but google and read what you are getting into before trying.

Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (1)

TimeandMaterials (2826493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715299)

Trying working in IT and getting 8 hours of sleep a night...just won't happen.

This explains (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714083)

. . .why the last 20 years or so are such a blur. But it does offer hope that the lousy economy may be remembered as sucking less.

Electrically activating memory pathways (4, Interesting)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714089)

The interesting part in the berkeley link is the possibilty for "electrical intervention":
For example, in an earlier study, neuroscientists in Germany successfully used electrical stimulation of the brain in young adults to enhance deep sleep and doubled their overnight memory.

So what kind of voltage, current, and signal sequence would you use for this?

Re:Electrically activating memory pathways (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714105)

So what kind of voltage, current, and signal sequence would you use for this?

Ever put a 9v cell on your tongue? Do you remember that? Would you remember 120v to your genitalia? That's the miracle of electric pathways, my friend!

Holy... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714093)

Shit Batman!

Stop-the-world generational garbage collector (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714099)

So this means our brains use a stop-the-world type of generational garbage collector?

What was I talking about again?

Proper sleep for studying (5, Interesting)

saibot834 (1061528) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714103)

As a student, a large part of my work involves remembering. I have found that I need 8 hours of sleep – if I sleep less than that, I'm useless all day: I have trouble concentrating and usually don't get any studying done.

Others however, seem to be off fine sleeping only 3 or 4 hours a day. Sure, they are tired, but it doesn't impact their ability to concentrate in the same way. Any biologist / neuroscientists here who can explain this?

Re:Proper sleep for studying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714117)

Everyone is not the same. You'll realise that when you get older...

Re:Proper sleep for studying (3, Insightful)

NickDB (1289180) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714125)

People are different, but I'll need a few million in grant money to be sure.

Re:Proper sleep for studying (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714193)

Some people can enter REM faster than others.
Here's the crazy [dustincurtis.com] .

Re:Proper sleep for studying (2)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714381)

I'm actually like that. Non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome, that is. (I'm writing this as I'm winding down from my "day" at 8am, after waking up at 7pm last night.) I'm closer to a 26 hour cycle than a 28, though. Thanks for the link, I might try that out.

Re:Proper sleep for studying (2)

TheLink (130905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714509)

Instead of that insanity[1] I'd recommend two sleeps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segmented_sleep [wikipedia.org]
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783 [bbc.co.uk]

[1] The fact that the guy says when you get it wrong you'll feel tired for _days_ should tell you how insane that method is. You can probably _survive_ on that, but I doubt you will thrive.

Re:Proper sleep for studying (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714297)

If it's any consolation, as one of the 3-4 hour offline people, I find that I need to do catch-up sleep every 10-12 weeks - I'll end up sleeping through most of a weekend.

While this is purely subjective, yes, my ability to concentrate is altered in general (most days, following a "short sleep") as compared right after a weekend of sleeping.

As practical consideration, most of the world understands your sleep cycle. Most of the world does not understand my sleep cycle, and does not like to accommodate the fact that I'll elect to not get up and go to work if I'm able to get an extra 6 hours of natural sleep on a particular morning. (I've got my boss trained, fortunately.)

Re:Proper sleep for studying (2)

mikael_j (106439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714647)

As practical consideration, most of the world understands your sleep cycle.

Yet if you tell people that you actually need those eight hours of sleep to function properly you get ridiculed. Everyone expects you to function just fine on 5-6 hours per night, any more is seen by a lot of people as being a bit "lazy" (either going to bed "too early" or "sleeping in").

I'm not ashamed to say that anything less than seven hours per night on average completely messes me up, I can feel it the moment I wake up, I need more sleep or I will function poorly (a few months ago I wound up only getting 4-5 hours per night for a full week, by Friday I was completely useless at work, just staring at my monitor trying to force my brain to do work).

Re:Proper sleep for studying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714367)

As a student, a large part of my work involves remembering.

Rote learning is shit. It's far more valuable to gain an understanding, then you don't need to remember. The goal of studying should be to arrive at a fundamental grasp on something, not simply memorizing stuff.

Any biologist / neuroscientists here who can explain this?

Cocaine is a hell of a drug!

Re:Proper sleep for studying (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715679)

Sure, they are tired, but it doesn't impact their ability to concentrate in the same way.

It does, they are just not aware of it or don't want to admit it.

Re:Proper sleep for studying (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715703)

Methylphenidate [wikipedia.org] and coffee. Abused by all the hip kids in Law school.

a potentially new treatment avenue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714113)

All I read is this is good news. "a potentially new treatment avenue" ... keep on partying, woo hoo!

Typo (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714135)

If I'm reading the source article correctly, it has a big typo that propagated to the slashdot post. The source article abbreviated non-rapid eye movement to REM. It is deep stage 3 (delta) non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep that is important to memory, not REM sleep.

Re:Typo (1)

martas (1439879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714403)

It is deep stage 3 (delta) non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep that is important to memory, not REM sleep.

Where are you getting that? I've learned from multiple sources (college cognitive psych, many news articles, Wikipedia) that REM sleep is believed to be important for some types of memory.

Re:Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714447)

Apparently you need more of it because you couldn't remember the first sentence of his three sentence post.

If I'm reading the source article correctly, it has a big typo that propagated to the slashdot post.

RTFA.

Re:Typo (1)

rjr162 (69736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714761)

Healthy adults typically spend one-quarter of the night in deep, non-rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Slow waves are generated by the brain’s middle frontal lobe. Deterioration of this frontal region of the brain in elderly people is linked to their failure to generate deep sleep, the study found.

Re:Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714431)

That would make more sense, concurrent with what researchers have already known. The article even states that "deep restorative sleep", not shallow REM sleep, is necessary for memory consolidation. Let's hope someone fixes the headline soon.

Sleep is difficult in my job . . . (1, Offtopic)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714147)

. . . my employer has outsourced sleep.

As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (5, Interesting)

dalutong (260603) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714171)

I like to follow these types of stories. I lost all of my memory one morning when I was 19. The cause isn't clear. I was in an underdeveloped country at the time, so the medical facilities didn't exist to determine what had happened. (It might have been a delayed effect of a car accident I was in two years earlier.) It's also probably important to note that my ability to form new memories was also severely impeded.

I wonder a little bit about what "moving" a memory means. At least in my amateur study, memories aren't complete entities (like a file, database, etc). They are mixes of memories, the awareness of what has occurred, and associations, our integration of what we already know with what we are remembering. That's part of the reason people can have such differing memories of a shared experience. Some of that is about how memories are retrieved. In my study and experience, they are retrieved by these associations we make. That's why memory tricks involve making varied associations -- to song, to a mental or physical image, etc. For people who haven't learned those tricks, an association can be as simple as "I remember we met in a bar..." then the rest of the picture is pieced together.

I wonder sometimes if my having to learn different ways of "remembering" things will allow me to maintain a higher level of memory functioning into my elder years. I have to be very aware and purposeful about what I remember. I was in college when I lost my memory, so I had to learn very quickly how to perform in school without being able to learn in the conventional sense (I could not remember the beginning of a semester by the time it ended). So I focused much more on the integration of memories into my existing awareness (aka forming associations between new experiences and prior knowledge.) I still have a very poor memory retrieval in the classic sense, but I can still learn lessons well. It has just required a much higher level of sentience with regards to how memories are stored and what I hope to gain from a memory in the long term.

Re:As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714231)

I like to follow these types of stories. I lost all of my memory one morning when I was 19. The cause isn't clear. I was in an underdeveloped country at the time, so the medical facilities didn't exist to determine what had happened. (It might have been a delayed effect of a car accident I was in two years earlier.) It's also probably important to note that my ability to form new memories was also severely impeded.

Have you sued Christopher Nolan yet? Oh, that's right, you forgot to. Better tattoo that on your body.

Re:As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (1)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714575)

It seems to me you have somehow managed to implement a relational database type memory retrieval system. Instead of direct associations between memories and triggers, you seem to have yours arranged according to first-order predicate logic. Very impressive indeed.

Re:As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714729)

Your experience sounds a lot like our current understanding of how memory works: small pieces of inter-related information are stored by their connections to pre-existing ideas, and recovered in a synthetic process of re-assembly.

Re:As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715403)

Don't forget to burn your Polaroids, they don't rip.

memory storage is brain global (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714267)

memories are not stored in any specific brain region. the absolute proof of this is that thousands of epileptics have had an entire hemisphere of their brain removed WITH NO LOSS OF MEMORY!

Re:memory storage is brain global (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714345)

How do they know? If they don't know something, is it because they never knew, or is it because it got lost?

Note that you don't know what your passive knowledge is unless you explicitly test for it. You may have learned some math trick decades ago and "forgotten" about it, and then suddenly if you come across a problem needing it, you remember that trick. If you lose the knowledge, all that happens is that you'll not remember that trick, but since you can't know that you would have remembered that trick otherwise, you can't know that you lost that knowledge.

Re:memory storage is brain global (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714581)

the epileptics were extensively tested, and they did not suffer even the minor memory loss that electroshock patients suffer from. there are well established testing paradigms to very accurately determine if a psychiatric patient has suffered memory loss. with half the brain gone, and essentially no changes in memory or personality? this is a well established and well studied area.

Re:memory storage is brain global (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715387)

My wife suffered a complete amnesia about four years ago, thankfully she has mostly recovered from it (I'd say about 95%). You can estimate how much memory has been lost, by asking the opinions of people who know them extremely well. A spouse is good, as are siblings if the family was close, offspring are another good source of info. Of course, you can't tell exactly, but you should be able to get a pretty good idea.

Re:memory storage is brain global (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714731)

Perhaps when the brain is flawed, then it stores the memories in the unflawed areas? Kind of like how you can block the use of bad sectors on a harddrive; they would be used if they worked correctly, but since they don't, they can be prevented from use and the unflawed sectors will be used instead.

Re:memory storage is brain global (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715031)

uh, no. the brain is nothing at all like a hard drive not even in the slightest.

Re:memory storage is brain global (0)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715381)

It's called an analogy, genius. How much of your brain did you have removed?

Newsworthy (1)

rockerito (2791051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714293)

I think this is news-for-nerds not so much because it is a science article, but more so because, for some reason, all of us who work in IT keep messing up with our sleep schedules (or at least have a tendency to). So it's interesting news.

Re:Newsworthy (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714409)

It's only interesting because you can't remember having read an article like this before.

Haven't we known this for decades? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714299)

I don't even *remember* where I first heard that we need sleep to form memories, but I've known it for at least 3 decades now.... certainly long before I graduated high school.

Re:Haven't we known this for decades? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714357)

I was going to say the same thing. Not news? I even have some vague recollection that it was specifically delta pattern sleep that's required. I don't remember seeing the acronym NREM though. It was just called delta pattern.

Perhaps the article says what's new in this study, but I can't read it. I've already blown my limit and read one article today.

YMMV... (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714305)

But for me: some light physical activity during the day(yard work or such), a hot shower and a couple of adult beverages before bedtime, and a clear conscience go a long way. If all that fails, a couple of threads like this on /. will usually put me out like a midnight cigarette.

Hang on... (1)

rikasa (1760376) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714363)

What was that I just read?

Curious timing (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714399)

This story about sleep (and the lack thereof) was submitted at 2:15am [slashdot.org] .

Re:Curious timing (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714491)

This story about sleep (and the lack thereof) was submitted at 2:15am [slashdot.org] .

PST, yes, but where was the poster at the time?

Re:Curious timing (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714519)

That'd be EST, and isn't the general consensus that most /. users are in North America?

Re:Curious timing (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715107)

Ok, EST, my bad. Still, there are 3 hours btw EST and PST, so my question still applies. I'm GMT+1 btw.

As far as north american majority is concerned, I don't know. It's likely.

Re:Curious timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715591)

6:15 on the east coast, around noon in the UK. Dude, if you think all slashdotters are in your time zone, anything here wlll be over your head.

old age (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714503)

Then why in old age when we sleep [24/?] hours a day why isn't our short term and long term memory great then?

Maybe, because we are sleeping so much, that we don't have time to be awake and learn anything and store it short/long term! That is, our memory buffer is empty - thus nothing to store and retrieve.

Re:old age (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714771)

Huh? Old people don't generally sleep more. They generally go to bed earlier - but they also generally wake up earlier, so end up sleeping the same amount of time or less - sleep apnea, insomnia, and other reasons for having trouble going into deep sleep are more common for the elderly.

Re:old age (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714781)

As you get older, committing things to memory takes longer as you have more things there to remember? I'm just guessing.

And to be honest, all the "old people" I know, get less sleep in their retirement than they ever have in their entire life (and thus tend to take early-morning walks, be up with the crows, listening to the radio late at night, etc.).

Re:old age (1)

samsanas (1960948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715149)

One usually has multiple kids because the first kid is usually the most well behaved and quiet kid one ever has. And probably sometimes you have a second (or another) child if it's therapeutic for the mother.

Re:old age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715755)

My parents are both in their eighties, and I don't think they sleep any more now than when I was a kid. I'm sleeping more than I used to, but that's deliberate. I needed no scientific study to determine that my mind's not as sharp when I don't get enough sleep. These days I go to bed early, the alarm clock seldom goes off.

If your clock wakes you up, you're not at your best. I've also found that I'm almost never irritable and usually in a really good mood. Ever see a toddler who needs his nap? Adults are just like the toddlers.

it's a species survival adaptation (5, Funny)

thegreatemu (1457577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714511)

I'm actually only about half-joking here. When you have a newborn, you get practically no sleep for months at a time, and yet people still have multiple kids. Why? Because nobody clearly remembers those early terrible sleepless months!

Re:it's a species survival adaptation (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714737)

Women often rate pain they experienced during childbirth much lower after only a few hours.

The hormones that surge through the body after birth gives rise to a deliberate "memory wash" to make things seem as though they were less painful than they actually were at the time.

An evolutionary trick to ensure childbirth continues even though it is THE most stressful thing a human body will ever experience naturally.

Re:it's a species survival adaptation (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714823)

I'm actually only about half-joking here. When you have a newborn, you get practically no sleep for months at a time, and yet people still have multiple kids. Why? Because nobody clearly remembers those early terrible sleepless months!

I was saying exactly this to my brother-in-law who just started parenting, the first five years is just one long blur. I'm not sure what's the bigger factor, PTSD or sleep depravation.

Re:it's a species survival adaptation (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714921)

Can't people soundproof the rooms with the baby in? If it's because it needs attention, then you could still sound-proof it, but have a detection system which alerts just one parent (they can take it in turns, so every other night is a good sleep).

Re:it's a species survival adaptation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715499)

1) Any system can fail

2) no parent would trust their infant's life to any system unnecessarily because

3) See 1

Stress is a huge factor.... (4, Interesting)

realsilly (186931) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714559)

.... sleep loss which then results in poor memory retention.

I was in a marriage with a man I absolutely loved with all my heart and soul and I thought he was a good guy, but he just up and quit the marriage, leaving with no real explanation as to what happened. Naturally, I slipped into deep stress and depression, I found myself lying awake every night for hours and hours only to get about 2 to 3 hours of restless sleep a night. I've been doing this for over a year now and each night I struggle to find restful sleep.

I try, but it still eludes me. Exercise to the point of exhaustion only barely helps. Sleep aids don't even phase me. Alcohol does virtually nothing, and frankly I've avoided it due to migraines that it can cause.

I believe that happiness is the best thing for sleep and a good memory. Because most happy people aren't usually depressed and less stressed out.

Re:Stress is a huge factor.... (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714877)

Sounds familiar, my sleep patterns went to shit after my divorce. The only thing I founds that helped is having a routine, in my case it's go to bed, read a book in dim lighting, when my eyes start to blur turn off the light.

If I don't actually go to bed I'll be up for hours watching TV or playing with a computer, once I fall into that it's hard to break out of.

If I don't read a book then my mind is still racing thinking about... well everything.

After ten years of this I can say I have an almost normal sleep pattern.... almost.

Re:Stress is a huge factor.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715501)

Sorry to hear about that. But your situation is not all that uncommon (unfortunately). A couple will often be married for years while one partner knowing lives a lie. This leaves the other thinking everything with the relationship is a ok. Eventually, there's a breaking point and can't live the lie anymore. Up and off they go.

Essentially, your man was a coward and didn't truly communicate with you. It happens. I hope you find closure in this.

Re:Stress is a huge factor.... (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715581)

It seems that your self-esteem suffered with this divorce.
In fact, I believe that you define your value within the eyes of others.
In other words, if they quit you, it means that you worth nothing.
You give too much credit to other people's opinions.

I strongly discourage you to use pills or alcohol, since they tend to create an addiction, and make your life miserable in the long term. They also won't solve your real problem, only the symptoms.

Did you try meditation, or "mindfulness" ?
I can provide you a few reference books if you need something to discover your own internal value, that is self-esteem.
Believe me: your value doesn't depend on what you do, nor on what others think about you !

Re:Stress is a huge factor.... (3, Insightful)

jedimark (794802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715613)

Totally agree.

Keep your chin up.. Just remember that jerk isn't losing any sleep over you. He stopped caring about your sleep a long time ago.

It's not fun lying awake every stinking night wondering what the heck you did wrong to end up in that situation.
It totally sucks waking up at 3am and feeling the same depressive cycle switching on again and again, when all you want to do is get some frigging sleep.

And all that time wasted, spent in a loop trying to process all the conflicting advice you've been given by well meaning idiots who've never experienced anything near where you have been through.

Waking "up" in the morning feeling like a zombie and can't remember what day it is, let alone what needs to get done.

Doctors prescribe antidepressants, mistakenly thinking it's just a simple brain chemical change that caused the completely messed up psyche, when in reality the problem was caused by an asshole who couldn't own up to their feelings, ripping a hole in the fabric of our universe, messing up our brain chemicals. (They may still need balancing, but they won't fix the problem until we can bring ourselves to address the root cause of it.)

The problem with marriage and other close relationships is we tend to bind our potential for happiness and wellbeing to another persons, and when the cords are cruelly severed, our identity is damaged in the process, along with our self worth.

It's not easy to give ourselves permission to stop mourning for the treasured thing we lost (of course it is completely natural need time to grieve).
However once we do, we can begin to retake control of our own future, we can start to find a solid foundation in ourselves, and nurture our own reasons for happiness. In the end we are stronger, better people, and able to deal with anything life throws our way.

I hope things improve for you real soon, so you can have a good nights sleep. I wish I knew the right thing to say that helped.
I know it can take quite a while to get back on your feet. I've really found it helps to know others have been through similar crap.

My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714651)

I was diagnosed with severe chronic insomnia a few years back, after having problems for several years. What affected my life most was the long time memory loss. When talking to old friends, I rarely could recall past events we shared. My solution was photography.
Now I always carry a camera with me, and use a website that publishes my images according to date. I then go back and check my past once in a while to get a refresh, and this works very well for me.
Also tried writing, but pictures seem to stick way better for me.

Memory (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714685)

I'm reading a book about memory at the moment, and this is one of the thing specifically mentioned. The book was written in the 90's and discusses research going back to the 70's, so this is hardly "news" (though that fact that it might be better proven or more specific now could be, but that's not what TFS says).

I have an interest in memory mainly because I suffer quite badly from a very peculiar memory defect (I won't pretend that it's been diagnosed by - or even mentioned to - a medical professional, but it's definitely there).

I have an atrocious memory. Everyone says so. I forget things all the time, forget birthdays, forget facts I was told years ago about whatever gossip was being talked about at the time, etc.

Funny, though, that I can remember pi to 32 decimal places without struggling, and only learned it because I was writing a program to calculate it by a series of diminishing fractions back when I was about 10, and have never needed to know it in any detail (certainly not to 32 places!) since. I can remember my 4th birthday. I can recite conversations that I've had months ago. I can remember all sorts of weird stuff and the EXACT same people who berate me for having a terrible memory often say "How the hell do you remember that? I didn't even remember the thing taking place and I was there!"

My problem is not memory. It's automatic memory acquisition and recall. Just being exposed to a fact won't make me remember it unless I find it interesting or I force myself to remember it (I know the number plate of a car my ex-father-in-law hired nearly 10 years ago for a family trip because we were booking into a hotel and I had to run outside, commit it to memory, and then recite it a minute later - it's STILL there). Without doing this deliberately I won't commit it to memory, and I can't be relied upon to recall it unless prompted.

And similarly, just knowing that at 3:00pm I have an urgent appointment won't make my brain trigger the recall. Even if I look at a clock. Even if I deliberately look at my schedule. Even if I then check mentally that I have nothing on that day so I can sign up for something else. It still just does not pop into my brain. But if at any point you ask me "What time was that appointment with X you had?" I would be able to tell you the time months in the future, and what we were supposed to discuss, in extraordinary detail.

My memory is PERFECT. It does exactly what I ask it to. But when it's not being used, it goes to sleep. It misses facts that it might be useful for me to remember unless I wake it up. And it will not "remind" me of anything, ever - it will always only do it after the event.

I function in society quite normally, but it's a real struggle and people don't see this, because of the ambiguity of my brain. I might not remember to come to your birthday party that I've been planning for months. But I will remember that crucial fact that you asked me to remember so long as YOU prompt me to give it to you at the required time.

I have tried every single possible system known to man of making myself be "reminded" of things in time. None of them work. Have my phone calendar beep? I'll forget to put the appointment in, I'll forget that I put my phone to silent, I'll cancel the beep when it does happen and then forget to check what it was, I'll read the calendar and know where I'm supposed to be in 5 minutes and then in 10 minutes find myself still sitting there having been distracted by something. You name it, the system won't work for me.

For a while I had systems such as "everything on the bottom step has to go upstairs next time I go there", because I was so sick and tired of having to keep going up and downstairs and getting there and an hour later realising I was supposed to be doing X (the thing I came downstairs for).

I still forgot to put things on the pile, or that the pile was supposed to be there (especially if I'd emptied it recently, the pile would be "forgotten" about until the next time I forgot something and reminded myself to recreate the pile, etc.), and even stepping over the pile unconsciously WHILE LOOKING AT THE THINGS IN IT (to the point where I had to "boobytrap" the stairs so it wasn't possible to just walk past - and then I spent so long trying to navigate the stairs just to go to the bathroom that I forgot why I was doing that and ended up at the top of the stairs with empty hands anyway).

I've not found anyone else with this - I understand that we ALL have this to some extent, but I've not found anybody else who sees it as anything other than casual, occasional "forgetfulness" rather than an actual problem. And I can't claim "bad memory" because my memory is actually perfect, both short- and long-term, so long as it has the correct triggers to force a memorisation or recall. It's the triggers not working that really stuffs up large parts of my life.

I have spent days (at home, and at work) thinking "Oh, cool, a nice day to take it easy with just gentle, non-urgent tasks", only for the whole day to collapse about 5 minutes before I go to bed / go home when someone asks me if I've finished "critical project X" that I knew had to be finished by today and that I'd drummed into my brain had to be done (and, often, then discover that I've moved the note I put on my chair to remind me of just that, and it's been in front of my eyes all day long).

If you asked me to memorise a pack of cards, I would be recall to do it today and in a year's time without any problem (For a while, I read every book about memory *commitment* techniques until I realised that I didn't need them. All that "picture the memory as a series of objects in rooms" rubbish that people teach - I don't need that, and it doesn't help me but actually makes my memory worse). But ask me to phone you at 6 and you might as well not bother. I'll remember at any given point that I was supposed to phone you at 6, but the chances of it actually happening are so near zero that you might as well not ask.

Now, if you don't suffer from the same thing I do, ask yourself how you get to an interview on time. I have NEVER been late to an interview, but that's because I have to take special measures to make sure of it, and I've always had a partner who has a memory with working recall that acts as my trigger for anything like that - when I was without a partner for a while, I sometimes forgot to eat for hours in a row, and then would still find myself wondering why I was still hungry hours after I was so hungry I could have eaten everything in the house.

Honestly, the only thing I "remember" on demand is my unconscious morning schedule to be woken up by an alarm, get all my things, and get out the door to work. But that doesn't mean that I've never started to go to work on a Saturday, or while on holiday, or that I've never forgotten that actually I haven't worked/lived in the place I was driving too for several years now.

Memory is an extremely weird thing - you can tell how complex it is by just how many ways it can go wrong in even an "ordinary" human.

Makes Sense (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714713)

But here's today's intriguing question: when are researchers going to notice the link between long-term sleep deprivation and (at least some forms of) Alzheimer’s Disease? I think that permanent damage can result from constant, chronic sleep deprivation.

Students (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714787)

I tell my students over and over every semester that a good night's sleep is just as important as studying. Not that they listen, but I still tell them.

Sleep in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714819)

I've always seen sleep as performing the same function as defragging a drive.

Re:Sleep in general (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42714859)

Nah, sleep is closer to being a reboot or "fsync()" call. Your working memory (RAM) is doing things all day and if you're interrupted or disturbed, you can lose it. Sleep just syncs your data to more long-term storage if it's necessary, and discards all those temporary files you no longer need.

cannabis is a long-term memory aid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42714965)

While it is obviously a hindrance to short term memory when you are high, the sound sleep it provides promotes long term memory. My anecdotal experience supports this.

  Compared to EVERY SINGLE OTC SLEEP DRUG, cannabis has a much higher LD-50 and is thus FAR SAFER. Of course our corrupted federal government can't see a medical purpose? Instead, they call me a criminal for growing and smoking my own medicine. This conflict causes me great depression - if our system is that corrupt and EVIL, why should I participate in it? My $26k federal tax bill just reminds me that every success I have in my personal life just feeds a machine that should be rebuilt instead of fed. Fuck it, why bother going for a promotion - it only means more money goes to this federal monster?

Always hybernate, don't shut down. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715191)

That is why I have told all my acquaintances to always hibernate their computers instead of shutting down. Glad science is finally catching up to my powers of casual observations and inferences.

wait, it is not about the computer memory, is it? Darn it.

Wow - I misread the heading (1)

buxomspacefish (2811071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715549)

"Porn sleep prevents brain from storing memories" - for a minute there I thought I'd have to stop looking at sleep porn. Whew...

Sleepless Medical Residents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42715587)

Yet another reason (other than killing the occasional patient) that it makes no sense for medical residents to have a sleep free schedule. They're supposed to be learning during their residency. But no matter how much scientific studies, experience or common sense shows sleepless-in-the-hospital is a bad idea, the medical profession will insist this hazing ritual is essential. So much for "scientific medicine" as their approach to training is as scientific as red ocher and rattles. It probably also doesn't hurt that all those sleepless residents mean attending physicians don't have to work so many night shifts.

my wife tells me this is bullshit (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | about a year and a half ago | (#42715695)

my wife tells me its because I'm a man and to stop blaming this on sleep disorder. hehe lol
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