Eight hour sound sleep can boost memory and learning, finds study

Refraining from eating while awake at late night is linked with better sleep, finds a new study. Researchers said that people who tend to eat more at night had negative effects of sleep deprivation while late night fasting helps in keeping a check on lack of concentration and alertness that accompany sleep deprivation.

Lead study author David Dinges from the University of Pennsylvania said that on an average an adult consumes nearly 500 calories more while awake at night and it prevents from sound sleep. “Our research found that refraining from late-night calories helps prevent some of the decline those individuals may otherwise experience in neurobehavioral performance during sleep restriction,” Dinges said.

The study was based on 44 participants aged between 21 and 50 years. All the volunteers were given unlimited access to food and drinks for three continuous days. Also, they were allowed to sleep only for four hours each night. Then on the fourth night, researchers divided the participants in two groups. First group of 20 participants were given same amount of food and drinks while participants in the other group were allowed to consume only water from 10 pm until they went to sleep at 4 am.

On fifth day, study authors took a test and found that participants in the second group who fasted in the night performed better in the reaction test than the participants in the first group who ate during night, signifying that people who eat less in the night have better sleep. Researchers also noted that people in the first group suffered more attention lapses than the people in the second group.

In an another study, scientists revealed that some physical activities leads to better sleep at night. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that exercises like gardening, running, weight lifting, walking, aerobics, etc. are linked with better sleep. While some other type of physical activities including household work, baby care related work are linked with poor sleep.

These studies will be presented at SLEEP 2015, the 29th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies to be held at Seattle in the US from June 6-10.

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