Sleeping Less Than 6 Hours In Middle Age Increases Dementia Risk, Says New Study

Here's a warning for the sleep-deprived...

  • A study published in the Nature Communications journal says that those who sleep 6 hours or less in midlife have higher risks of having dementia.
  • Following almost 8,000 participants, the research said that the sleep deprived had “30% increased dementia risk” compared with those who had 7 hours of sleep or more.
  • “Sleep is important for normal brain function,” emphasized University of Edinburgh’s Tara Spires-Jones.

We all know the importance of ample rest but some of us simply shrug off the fact that sleep deprivation can bring dire consequences.

Case in point, a research published by the Nature Communications journal tells us that those who get around six hours or less everynight are in danger of having dementia in the future.

After studying 7,959 participants for the past 25 years, the Whitehall II study reported that they have discovered “higher dementia risk” among those who have a “sleep duration of six hours or less at age 50 and 60” compared with those who have at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

The study further tells us:

“Persistent short sleep duration at age 50, 60, and 70 compared to persistent normal sleep duration was also associated with a 30% increased dementia risk independently of sociodemographic, behavioral, cardiometabolic, and mental health factors.”

University of Edinburgh’s Center for Discovery Brain Sciences deputy director Tara Spires-Jones commented about the findings, saying:

“Sleep is important for normal brain function and is also thought to be important for clearing toxic proteins that build up in dementias from the brain.”

Meanwhile, Professor Tom Dening, head of the Center for Dementia in the Institute of Menta Health at the University of Nottingham added:

“What’s the message for us all? Evidence of sleep disturbance can occur a long time before the onset of other clinical evidence of dementia.”

However, Dening was quick to add that the study “cannot establish cause and effect.”

“Maybe it is simply a very early sign of the dementia that is to come,” he pointed out, “but it’s also quite likely that poor sleep is not good for the brain and leaves it vulnerable to neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.”

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