Worried About Your Memory? Maybe You Just Need to Sleep Better

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

We say it over and over; many common conditions cause memory loss.

Some minor forgetfulness, like inability to recall a particular word or entering a room and forgetting why, is pretty common, even in healthy people over the age of forty.  However,  more severe symptoms may indicate the presence of an underlying medical condition.  Among the many known causes of memory loss, all can be treated with some degree of success, and most can be completely cured.

While we often mention depression, medications, and thyroid disorders among the very treatable causes of memory loss, sleep disorders should also be on that list of common and treatable conditions.  A great article about this very topic was posted today on CNN's health blog, the Chart.

Sleep apnea, or interrupted sleep due to lapses in breathing, is fairly common, especially in middle-aged and older men. It can be diagnosed with high certainty in a sleep study, and generally treated with good results.  If untreated, sleep patterns can severely degrade, and chronic sleep deprivation can significantly impair alertness and cognitive function.

Given the prevalence of sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders, many worrisome signs of memory loss may be attributable to these treatable conditions.   Please keep this in mind if you are worried, or know someone who is worried about their memory, and may not be sleeping well.


  1. I'm 60 years old and suffer from Sleep apnea for many years, not being aware of it many years. I had an operation in my nose, which did not help, and after a long time rejecting a CPAP, I bought one. I think it has improved the quality of my sleep, as I do not stop breathing during my sleep, but still, waking up in the morning tired as if I did not sleep at all. I am not concentrated all the day(s) long, hearing people talk to me or talk near me, but not storing the data. It is like hearing the noise of a bus passing nearby, and not remembering it a second later.
    This is killing me. Makes me angry and sad. I am afraid of having Alzheimer, because my mother had, but all the tests I made showed I don't.
    It is like being a non-useful plant, tired, not concentrated all day long all days long.

  2. It sounds like your sleep is not restful, even if the apnea incidents are well-controlled. It is also possible that your memory problems are related to some other medical condition. If I were you, I would insist on a thorough work-up from your physician.

  3. Hi. Thank you for your respond. I don't remember the names of the checks I went through, but I did many. They didn't find anything. Sometimes I feel like a Zombi.
    Thanks again!