Dr. Jeffrey Iliff on Sleep Patterns and Cognitive Function

Dr. Jeffrey Iliff

Dr. Jeffrey Iliff recently came on the Causes or Cures Podcast to discuss a hot topic: sleep and cognitive function.

This topic appealed to me for two reasons. One, sleep is something we have some control over: in other words, we can adjust the way we sleep to maximize health benefits. And two, rates of cognitive decline and dementia are increasing in this country. We are an aging population, so this makes sense, but we are also seeing increasing rates of cognitive decline in younger populations. Younger folks with ‘brain fog” seemingly exploded since the COVID pandemic, so it makes me wonder…where will our minds be in thirty to forty years?

In a recent Causes or Cures episode, Dr. Jeffrey Iliff chats about his research on changes in sleep patterns over time and how that is linked to cognitive function. He discusses the relationship between sleep and cognitive function in general, and then describes how some sleep patterns over time may be more prone to cognitive decline than others and explains the theories behind that. He talks about the optimal number of hours of sleep a person should get each night and how that was determined. (Interestingly, it’s not as solid as you might think!) Finally, he explains the larger health impact of his work, particularly in an age when cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise.

Dr. Jeffrey Iliff is a researcher and professor at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Associate Director for Research at the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. His research focuses on traumatic brain injuries and neurodegeneration.

You can listen to the full podcast here. 

Also check out this great podcast with a neuroscientist who researchers dreams on why we dream! It’s fascinating!


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