In case of sleep disturbance, the age-related decrease in brain volume accelerates, this is discussed in an article published in the journal Neurology. It is likely that sleep helps maintain order in the brain, providing a “minor repair”.
147 people between the ages of 20 and 84 were invited to participate in the study. Before starting the study, they were asked to answer questions regarding various sleep disorders, such as waking up in the middle of the night or difficulty falling asleep. Using the MRI method, volunteers determined the volume of the brain, and this was done twice, with an interval of 3.5 years.
35% of all volunteers had sleep disturbances. It turns out that in this group for 3.5 years the decrease in brain volume was more pronounced. Moreover, it was more pronounced at the age of 60 years and older. In addition, the volume of different parts of the brain in the parietal, frontal and temporal regions decreased.
Experts note that they do not yet know how sleep quality is related to the volume of the brain, they do not know what is the consequence and what is the cause. In the future, they plan to check whether improving the quality of sleep will affect this indicator. Although it is still clear that good sleep is very necessary for the preservation of the brain.