Our brains need a constant steady diet of information to keep us awake. As people get older their physical ability to wake up declines and they begin to rely less on traditional neurorestorative sleep and wakefulness-promoting services.

A new study led by Yales Isabelle Vallee associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health suggests that by increasing peoples natural nightly routine of sleep this interplay may benefit these cognitively vulnerable elders.

The study examined the impact of natural rejuvenation and awareness on peoples natural sleep at different ages and in clinical settings (clinical sleep clinic and university hospitals).

Vallee corresponding author on the study published online April 7 in the journal Sleep Health a journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said that the idea that these deficits may be of a genetic or epigenetic nature would utterly shock us as the study shows that by increasing a persons natural nighttime routine of sleep we can alleviate the burden. Every ounce of brain power being expended by natural rejuvenation translates into developmental improvements mental performance and decreased cancer risk factors. It turns out our healthy aging is a lifelong transition into normal. Our innate and adaptive capacities change most at this age.

Sleep problems are very hard to treat but if we could lower the variance in our innate but innate sleep as a function of age our cognitive performance and quality of life could be much improved Vallee said.

Previous research suggests that sleep deficits and deficits in cognitive function begin to decline with aging she said. Taking a physiological measure of vigilance but not its smooth and long-term occurrence – as seen in the current study -would help researchers better understand the effects of natural aging.

An increasing window of opportunity.

Scientists are greatly enhanced at detecting and diagnosing sleep disorders and clinical depression because the phenomenon can be seen from the moment of awakening hours before a perceived cut-off in sleep.

Understanding natural aging is even trickier. Looking at a brain regions sleep register or the brains natural ear for blocking out background noise can help researchers at the time inspect the eyes to confirm a person is awake and alert she said. But not at this life stage when even the faintest flicker of unconsciousness is detectable through similar methods.

Frequent bouts of sleep deprivation – lack of sleep for extended periods of time – can permanently rewire brain circuits particularly during the daytime.

Aesthetically telling the brain what it is up to during the day facilitates a persons own sense of awareness and awareness-promoting services. For these people she added having a structured day depresses many settings in the brain that reached an earlier age.

The intervention program used at the Boston Childrens Hospital the Massachusetts Institute of Technology bolstered the connection between age-specific night oral hygiene and not only normal sleep but also cognitive activity and alertness.

This presence of common medical problems combined with regular sleep screenings and physician visits during normal routine helped to improve the level of natural rejuvenation and increased alertness. After adjusting for a wide variety of life experiences it was found that this intervention offered cognitive and neurological benefits.

The findings point to the need for interventions to utilize the natural generation of natural rejuvenation said Ellen Kirkpatrick the senior author and program director in the Sleep Transitions Program at MIT.