Good sleep and good mood also ensure good brain function, especially good memory function, according to a new research published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.
A team of psychologists from the University of California (UC) found a strong correlation between work memory – a prerequisite for a functioning mind – and three health factors: sleep, age and depressed mood.
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Thanks to working memory, we remember what we should do and how to do it so that we can get back to it and complete it even if our attention has already been broken. As our working memory grows and executive functions begin to decline, as confirmed by the Weiwei Zhang Assistant Professor of Psychology research at the University of California. Simply put, the bigger we are, the weaker and less accurate the memory is.
On the contrary, poor sleep quality and depressed mood correlate with a reduced chance of recalling a previous experience, which is a “quantitative” aspect of work memory.
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“Previous research has already linked each of these factors to the overall functioning of work memory, but our work has looked at how these factors correlate with the quality and quantity of work memory, which is the first time,” he said Dr. Zhang. As the three factors point out, they interact, which means that the elderly are more likely to have depressed mood compared to the younger, while poor sleep quality is associated with depressed mood.
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Researchers are the first to statistically isolate the influence of the three factors – age, sleep and mood – on the quality and quantity of work memory. Although all three factors lead to blurred memory, they appear to arise from potentially independent mechanisms in different brain centers. These findings could in the future lead to therapeutic interventions compensating for the negative effects of these factors in working memory.
The researchers conducted two studies. In the first study, 110 students participated and their self-reported measurements of sleep quality, depressed mood and independent relationship with experimental measurements of their working memory were given. In the second study, the researchers sampled 31 members of a community aged 21-77 years. In this study, researchers investigated age and its relationship to working memory.
“We are now more confident about how each of these factors affects work memory, which could help us to better understand the underlying mechanisms of senile dementia. For the optimal functioning of the mind, it is important for the elderly to sleep well and have a good mood, “said Dr. Zhang.