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Web Exclusive: Sleep deprived? Memory may suffer

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(CNN) - We have long known that getting enough sleep is key to good health, but a new study finds, it might also be key to a good memory.   It's not just about getting your beauty sleep, a new study says getting the right amount of sleep, every night, is important for maintaining your memory, especially in later life.

The study, done by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, focused specifically on women and researchers found that getting too much or too little sleep had an effect on memory. Some 15,000 women, age 70 and older, were studied and more memory problems were found among those who got less than five hours of sleep a night, or more than nine hours a night.

The researchers say the memory problems were, "equivalent to nearly two additional years of age", when compared to someone who regularly logged seven hours of sleep each night.  It seems that consistency is key too.   People who changed their sleep patterns over time, even just varying it by only two hours, developed more memory loss as well.   

So, it seems the long held advice is true here, too -- a balanced night sleep, every night, is the route to a healthy mind. and if you're looking for ways to get a better night's sleep, the folks at AARP came up with this list:

- Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends.

- Limit caffeine and alcohol, especially in the hours closer to bedtime.
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