It may seem like a no brainer for you if you have ever experienced sleep deprivation and memory loss in the same space of time. It makes common sense that one affects the other, no?
But science is always concerned with the mechanism and tries to avoid what I call a true true and unrelated equation. What do I mean by that? Well, there are lots of things that are associated with other things but don’t actually cause them. The world of science and even more, the internet of things is rife with associations that are actually interpreted as causes.
My favorite example of this is the infamous “Fish oil causes 70% more prostate cancer” article released 4 years ago. I don’t know if you read my blog: As I lay Dying but it sums up the nonsensical nature of the conclusions drawn by people who are clueless about the mechanisms of Omega 3 fats. Worse the media as usual jumped on it without understanding what it said and created an artificial furor where there was none.
Boy does that sound familiar!!!
Anyway the bottom line especially for scientists and less so for journalists is, look before you leap.
So when a recent article in Neurochemical Research showed a plausible mechanism for the link between sleep and memory, some of us took notice.
First understand that science is often a bit artificial in the way it creates experiments. We use rats, mice bugs, bacterial, stem cells and the like to mimic human beings. Flawed? Yes! But useful? Very!!!!
So what’d we learn.
Well most animals people included have “Clock*” genes that code for sleep chemicals. Clock genes do indeed regulate circadian rhythms and are intimately involved in creating the body biochemical patterns needed for sleep.
But like all genes the Clock genes are subject to regulation by epigenetic modification. I won’t go into a deep discussion of epigenetics here, but I do have a simple one. Epigenetics regulates gene expression as in “off-on” or as in “more or less”. My interest in it stems mainly from the fact that while the genetic changes caused by mutations and such are often limited throughout the human life span, the epigenetic changes are gigantic. Thus I think epigenetics may be a far bigger driver on aging than genetics for most of us. In lectures I describe it as the 80/20 rule meaning that epigenetics drives 80% of aging while genetics drives 20%
You can’t change your genes but you can influence your epigenetics big time.
Sleeping more and better is a classic example of how to change your epigenetics!
The study I mentioned above goes into great detail about how changes in sleep patterns influences epigenetic marks and in turn, turns memory chemicals on, off and up and down.
So now we have a scientific reproducible method to show how sleep deprivation affects memory as well as other aspects of our behavior and our performance.
For almost the past 2 decades I have been preaching this at various anti-aging conferences. I’ve also linked sleep deprivation to another favorite aging topic, telomere loss.
And let me remind you I make an all-natural non addictive fast acting sleep support supplement known as Sweet Sleep Z. It’s newly reformulated and available for a special deeply discounted price for a very limited time. Try getting a good nights sleep for a month and watch your memory soar!
For the 70 million Americans and the millions more world wide a better night’s sleep is a godsend!