Lack of sleep saps men's brain power
22 July 2006
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IF YOU have ever thought you were stupid to sleep with someone, consider this. Sharing your bed could actually make you stupid if you are a man - at least temporarily.
Even without having sex, bed sharing disturbs sleep quality, say Gerhard Kloesch and colleagues from the University of Vienna, Austria. The team recruited eight unmarried, childless couples, and used questionnaires and a wrist activity monitor, an "actigraph", to assess sleep patterns after 10 nights together and 10 apart.
Men and women fared differently. While men thought they slept better with a partner, and women believed they didn't, actually both sexes had more disturbed sleep, even when they did not have sex. Lack of sleep led to increased stress hormone levels in men, and reduced their ability to perform simple cognitive tests the next day.
However, the women apparently slept more deeply when they did sleep, since they claimed to be more refreshed than their sleep time suggested. Their stress levels and mental scores did not suffer to the same extent.
Kloesch presented his work at a meeting of the Forum of European Neurosciences in Vienna last week.
Sleeping with someone also affected dream recall, with women remembering more after sleeping alone and men recalling best after sex.