Can Sleep Problems Actually Improve Your Memory?

Sleep difficulties don’t just make life hard by causing daytime drowsiness and fatigue; they’re associated with serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, dementia and cancer. With all the bad things associated with insomnia, few would think this problem would offer any benefits. That said, a new study indicates that this common issue could actually offer an indirect benefit in certain situations.

Improving Memory?

A new study indicates that sleep difficulties may have the ability to indirectly enhance people’s abilities to remember, provided they take a prescription sleep aid to help. Appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience, the research found that Ambien enhances a user’s brain by allowing it to store memories more efficiently. After providing Ambien to multiple subjects, the researchers tested their brains during sleep. Ultimately, they found that Ambien increased the amount of sleep spindles, which refers to memory-making bursts of brain energy that occur during certain phases of sleep.

How it Applies to Sleep Apnea

Despite whatever benefits Ambien offers, it’s a poor solution for sleep apneics, who endure repeated breathing disruptions throughout the night. Although these interruptions may be frustrating, they are important, because they are the brain’s way of waking the body when oxygen levels diminish. Any sleep aid that prevents this frequent waking could be problematic, since it may lead to oxygen deprivation.

Readers should also note that the researchers clearly stated that this study should not serve to endorse Ambien as a memory aid due to potential side-effects which can be serious. Instead, they say their study is only meant to help give experts a clearer understanding of how they might treat serious memory disorders in the future.

Get Safe, Effective Help

A sleeping pill cannot provide effective relief from sleep apnea; on the other hand, an oral sleep appliance can by adjusting the jaw to provide a clear, unobstructed airway. To learn more, contact Dr. Siegel’s office today.

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