Aging brains lead to poor sleep and bad memory

They say the first thing to go is your memory (and the second is... I forget).

But that's just not true -- memory loss isn't really the first thing to go, just the first to get your attention.

New research shows that the first thing to really go is quality sleep -- and after that, the memories start leaking out of your head like a sieve.

The problems are in the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that shrinks as we age. It's also the part of the brain we need for high-quality, brain-resting, memory-retaining, and overall feel-good sleep.

In a series of experiments on 20-somethings and seniors, researchers found that prefrontal cortex size was a rough indicator of how well they'd perform on basic memory tests.

In the daytime, the youths scored about 25 percent higher than the seniors. And in the morning, they really got to show off those bigger brains, beating the seniors by 55 percent when they took those tests after a night of sleep.

So what's the answer here? Clearly, get more sleep and cut the brain shrink as much as you can -- and you can kill two birds with one stone on this.

B vitamins are already known to be essential to the production of sleep hormones as well as critical REM sleep, and in recent studies, they've also shown that they can slow, stop, and even reverse the "brain shrink" that accompanies aging.

What's more, these same studies have shown that B vitamins can reduce the signs of dementia and may even improve memory, so it's all coming full circle here.

Up your B, sleep better, and you might not have the memory of a 20-something -- but you could get pretty close.

And if you're still having trouble getting some shut-eye don't despair. Safe, natural sleep CAN be yours. Discover the secrets to calm, relaxing sleep night after night. Learn more by clicking here.

Bringing my 'B' game,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.