So one of the myths that’s out there is that
older adults actually need less sleep
than middle-aged adults or young adults.
It turns out not to be true. It actually is a myth.
Older adults need just as much sleep as they do in their seventies,
as they did when they were in their forties.
The problem is that it’s simply older adults cannot generate the sleep that they still necessarily need.
So the analogy would be like saying well,
older adults have weaker bones as they get older,
and therefore older adults just need less strong bones.
And that’s not true.
We accept that it’s a problem
and we treat it with supplements such as calcium.
We need to do the same thing and have the same mentality approach
when it comes to older adults’ sleep.
We need to help them with their sleep,
think about strategic ways to improve their sleep
because they still need that sleep.
And in fact we know that
sleep is one of the most protective lifestyle factors
that determines your dementia and Alzheimer’s disease risk as well.
So for all of these reasons we need to let go of the…the myth.
And it truly is a myth that older adults simply need less sleep.
They don’t. They need just as much sleep.
They just can’t physically generate it as the brain starts to deteriorate.
只是 由于大脑机能开始衰退 他们无法睡不了那么久
So we need to find ways to supplement it.
So how could we actually supplement the sleep of older adults?
Well, one thing that we’re developing at my sleep center
at the University of California Berkeley,
is something called direct current brain stimulation.
Now it sounds like the stuff of science fiction.
It’s actually science fact
You apply some electrode pads to the head,
and you insert a small amount of voltage into the brain.
So small that you typically don’t feel it,
but it has a measurable impact.
And what we’re trying to do is essentially sing in time
with those deep sleep brainwaves that are diminished in aging,
almost like a choir to a flagging lead vocalist.
By amplifying the size of those deep sleep brainwaves,
we hope to try and salvage aspects of learning and memory function
that sleep supports in older adults and those with dementia.
That’s one of my real hopes now.
And it’s one of the moonshot goals that we have.