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Sleep Linked to Memory, ADHD

A lack of good sleep is linked to more than a groggy morning, especially in children and young teens, the Miami Herald reports. Health experts have seen a rise in sleep disorders that cause symptoms similar to ADHD, such as hyperactivity and trouble focusing.

Studies have shown that devices such as laptops and smart phones that young people can’t seem to put down are part of the reason for an incomplete night’s rest.

The bright lights emitted from these devices makes the brain think it is still daylight, halting the body’s natural production of melatonin, which is needed for sleep. Experts suggest turning off all devices an hour before bedtime.

Another sleep disorder, sleep apnea, which causes shallow or delayed breathing during the night and results in poor sleep, has been found to be linked to cognitive problems such as short-term memory loss, the Miami Heraldreports. This is because this disorder, which is more common in older people,  results in less oxygen to the brain.

Studies suggest about 12 million Americans suffer from this disorder, but about 80 percent are not diagnosed. Sleep apnea is easily treatable and symptoms can be as obvious as heavy snoring. Aside from  cognitive impairment, it has been linked to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.