Lack of sleep linked to risk of dementia
Health experts frequently stress the importance of restful sleep for health and performance. During sleep, for example, the brain must detoxify itself more quickly and get rid of harmful substances. The results of a new long-term study now show that people who sleep very short between the ages of 50 and 70 have an increased risk of developing dementia.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) and the French National Institute of Medical Research (INSERM) have come to the conclusion that people who sleep six hours or less a night in their 50s and 60s have an increased risk of dementia later in life. The results of the study were recently published in the famous specialized journal “Nature Connections” Gifts.
The risk of developing dementia increases by 30% if there is a lack of sleep
According to the evaluation of the long-term study, in which 7,959 British adults have been asked about their sleep times since 1985, those aged 50 to 70 consistently sleep six hours or less per night are nearly 30 percent higher. Risk of dementia from those who sleep longer. 521 of the participants had been diagnosed with dementia by the end of the study period in 2019.
The relationship between sleep duration and risk of dementia
“Sleep problems are known to occur in people with dementia, but it remains unclear whether sleep duration in middle age affects the risk of developing dementia in old age,” according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Severin Sabia. The current study with a very long follow-up period shows that a short sleep period in middle age is associated with the risk of dementia later in life.
The basic process has not yet been decoded
“While we can’t confirm that poor sleep actually increases the risk of dementia, there are many reasons why a good night’s sleep is good for brain health,” says Dr. boy. The results confirm the importance of proper sleep for health.
Why lack of sleep can cause dementia
Even if the exact reasons for the relationship between sleep duration and risk of dementia are not sufficiently understood, there are some plausible indications. For example, sleep researchers have already shown that the spaces between cells in the brain filled with brain water expand during deep sleep, meaning that metabolic products that are no longer needed can be transported from brain tissue at twice the speed.
In addition, more beta-amyloid deposits were found in the brains of people with obstructive sleep apnea than in people without sleep apnea. Beta-amyloid plaques are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Oversleeping does not appear to increase the risk of dementia
Previous studies have also indicated an increased risk of dementia in people who sleep longer than average. But according to the researchers, the results have been inconsistent. An increased risk of dementia with above-average sleep duration could not be demonstrated in the current study. “More studies, including more long sleepers, are needed to understand the role that sleep length plays in the risk of dementia,” the research team said.
Sleep is important for health
The lead author, Dr. Archana Singh Manox. The findings could help develop new ways to reduce dementia risk. (FP)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, clinical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.
Diploma Editor (FH) Volker Plasic
- National Institute of Health and Medical Research: Dementia: shorter nights linked to increased risk of disease (veröffentlicht: 20.06.2021), presse.inserm.fr
- University College London: Poor sleep in middle age linked to risk of dementia (veröffentlicht: 20.06.2021), ucl.ac.uk
- Sabia, S., Fayosse, A., Dumurgier, J. et al. The association of sleep duration in middle age and older adults with dementia; In: Nature Commun. (2021). , Nature.com
- Deutsches Ärzteblatt: Sleep deprivation in middle age heralds later risk of dementia (Published: Jun 21, 2021), aerzteblatt.de
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.
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