Lack of Sleep Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia
A new study released in the scientific journal Nature Communications has stated that people age 50 or 60 who regularly slept six hours or less each night were more likely than those who slept seven hours to be diagnosed with dementia.
This study is one of the most persuasive findings yet to suggest that people who are in their 50s and 60s who don’t get enough sleep may be more likely to develop dementia when they are older.
While controlling for factors such as mental health, cardiac, metabolic, issues, the study researchers found that 50-year-olds who were sleeping 6 hours or less a night had a 22% higher risk of developing dementia later in life. Sixty-year-olds were 37% more likely to develop the disorder.
The field of sleep science presents many challenges. For example, the long-term effects of sleep quality are inherently difficult to study and understand, as they require years of data collection and observation to fully understand. What sets this study apart from others is that it looks at study subjects over a long period, over 25 years. Most studies published about sleep and dementia span 20 years or less.
While the field of sleep science and research is still very young, in many ways and there are lots to learn. As we learn more and more about sleep there is a consistent theme, sleep is being proven to be more and more important to both short-term and long-term health.
Start Prioritizing Restorative Sleep Now
“Short sleep is something that we have control over, something that you can change,” says Pamela Lutsey, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the research.
Dr. Kristine Yaffe of UCSF adds to this literature as she points out that it is important to not only get more sleep but specifically more restorative sleep, including deep and REM sleep.
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