Most everyone knows that inadequate sleep can make it difficult to concentrate and perform complex mental tasks. Now, new research suggests that our cognitive abilities may decline the longer we are awake.
Sleep and Learning
A study presented at the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS) has shed light on how sleep affects the way our brains process new information. In conducting their study, researchers recruited 102 university undergraduates who had never taken any sort of economics class. Each student received lectures on concepts and problems associated with supply and demand microeconomics; however, some were taught during the day, while others received instruction at night.
In the end, researchers found that the students had more difficulty retaining and integrating new information after they’d been awake for longer than 12 hours.
What It Means for Sleep Apneics
Although the students who participated in the aforementioned study did not suffer from sleep disorders, they still experienced cognitive decline the longer they were awake. For people who suffer from sleep apnea, these problems can occur much sooner in the day. This is because sleep apneics tend to sleep less, thanks to frequent waking associated with breathing difficulties.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you know your disorder can make it difficult to function at work or school. That said, many sleep apneics are surprised to learn that this dangerous sleep disorder can also increase their risk of disease.