Sleep Quality, Age, Mood-Factors Affecting Working Memory

A research team from four U.S. Universities undertook a study to analyze factors affecting the working memory of an individual focusing on its quantitative as well as qualitative aspects. Their findings were printed in the ‘Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society’.

The study involved understanding if the factors made an impact individually or they impacted working together and how they affected the quantity and quality of working memory. This was a first of sorts with regard to research in this area. Lead researcher, Weiwei Zhang, Ph.D. revealed that there was an inter-link between the three factors. According to him, likelihood of aged people going through negative moods was higher and likewise incidence of depressed mood was in most cases related to poor sleep quality.

The research comprised of two studies. The first involved obtaining data from a group of 110 collegians through self-reported measures on their normal sleep quality and incidences of negative moods. The measures were linked to the performance of their working memory.

The second study involved a diverse group of 31 local people with ages ranging from 21 to 77 years. This study focused on analyzing the link between age and performance of working memory.

Researchers found an inverse relationship between age and functioning of qualitative working memory which meant that with every increase in age the accuracy of working memory reduced. Alongside low sleep quality and negative moods were associated with very bad quantitative working memory. This meant that lesser amounts of quality sleep and greater incidences of negative moods lead to poor storing of short-term memories.

Researchers concluded that each of the factors contributed to deterioration of working memory and each according to their statistical analysis impacted independently. A clearer understanding of the components affecting memory had vital clinical implications.

The findings could prove useful in knowing more about age-linked dementia. If the mind had to function effectively then it was vital for senior citizens to enjoy good quality sleep and remain in good mood.