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Insomnia affects memory | The newspaper Montreal

Chronic insomnia, which affects about 1 in 10 adults, causes significant cognitive losses, such as memory failures, according to a new study in Montreal.

"It's much more important than you think you have a sleep disorder. It has effects on physical, mental and cognitive health," Dr. Tan says

Dang-Wu, a researcher at the research center at the Montreal University Geriatrics Institute and professor of neurology at Concordia University, whose study has been published in the scientific journal Sleep.

His analysis covered nearly 30,000 Canadians aged 45 and older from the Canadian longitudinal study of aging. "It was important to demonstrate with a large sample and a stable analysis," he says.

The participants completed the battery of neuropsychological tests, which were used to evaluate the different cognitive functions and the quality of sleep.

They were classified into three categories: those with chronic insomnia, those with symptoms and those with normal sleep.

These were adults and the elderly who were generally healthy, who no longer suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, for example. "But there are clearer cognitive deficits" in participants with chronic insomnia, the researcher sums up.


"Probably it's a forerunner [à des maladies cognitives comme l’Alzheimer]Chronic insomnia is a potential disease that puts you at greater risk, "says Dr. Dang-Wu.

Especially because chronic insomnia is common, he continues. "It's a really widespread problem, it's not a rare disease. This is probably one of the most common conditions for doctors to fill in the office," he says.

He explains that discovery is important because memory problems can develop with age, starting with discrete signs that are striking over many years.


Both the public and health workers are not always aware of the impact of a poor dream, a specialist believes, adding that chronic insomnia is often trivialized.

The study suggests that chronic insomnia is diagnosed when a person can not fall asleep, wake up often or very early, more than three times a week for more than three months. "These are insomnia that persists in time, which is a common occurrence and complains of the face," says Tang Dang-Wu.

Declarative memory

Among the various tests examined by the participants were asked to evaluate their memory, they had, for example, to remember a series of words and then repeat them.

"It is above declarative memory, that is, memory based on concepts and facts, such as the meaning of words, places, and historical events that have changed," concluded Dr. Dang-Wu. .

The next step for Dr Dang-Wu and his team will be to determine the impacts of chronic insomnia on memory and brain for a longer period of time.

Also, the researcher wants to try to know if the return to a better sleep allows to slow down or even stop memory loss.

Chronic insomnia

10% of the population suffers from chronic insomnia

It is diagnosed when a person can not fall asleep, wake up often or very early, more than three times a week, more than three months.

Chronic insomnia not only damages the memory, but is associated with physical and mental problems, such as depression or anxiety, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, for example.

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