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Improving sleep and cognition by hypnotic suggestion in the elderly.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Cordi Maren Jasmin, Hirsiger Sarah, Mérillat Susan, Rasch Björn,
Project A brain state-dependent role of reactivation for memory formation
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Neuropsychologia
Volume (Issue) 69
Page(s) 176 - 82
Title of proceedings Neuropsychologia
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.02.001

Abstract

Sleep quality markedly declines across the human lifespan. Particularly the amount of slow-wave sleep (SWS) decreases with age and this decrease is paralleled by a loss of cognitive functioning in the elderly. Here we show in healthy elderly females that the amount of SWS can be extended by a hypnotic suggestion "to sleep deeper" before sleep. In a placebo-controlled cross-over design, participants listened to hypnotic suggestions or a control tape before a midday nap while high density electroencephalography was recorded. After the hypnotic suggestion, we observed a 57% increase in SWS in females suggestible to hypnosis as compared to the control condition. Furthermore, left frontal slow-wave activity (SWA), characteristic for SWS, was significantly increased, followed by a significant improvement in prefrontal cognitive functioning after sleep. Our results suggest that hypnotic suggestions might be a successful alternative for widely-used sleep-enhancing medication to extend SWS and improve cognition in the elderly.
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