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A new study shows that middle-aged people who sleep less than six hours a night are more likely to develop dementia.
A new study found new reasons why one should always be well rested. He found some links between insomnia and dementia, specifically when people are between 50 and 60 years old.
Published in the magazine Communications on Nature, the study tracked more than 8,000 subjects in Britain, from the age of 50 onwards. Those who consistently recorded less than six hours of sleep per night were 30% more likely to develop dementia three decades later than subjects who slept constantly for seven hours a night.
The research team was able to adapt to behaviors and characteristics that could influence people’s sleep patterns and increase the risk of dementia, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and body mass index.
“It would be highly unlikely that nearly three decades earlier, this sleep would be a symptom of dementia, so it’s a fantastic study to provide strong evidence that sleep is really a risk factor,” said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, he said to the New York News.
Limitations of the study include that most of the data were self-reported, which does not allow for more accurate results; the study did not differentiate between different types of dementia, and most participants were white and better educated than the British population at large.
Disorderly sleep is correlated with various health conditions. Although experts are unaware of the connection it could have with dementia, there are several theories in circulation. The more people are awake, the more they produce amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s. It is also believed that during sleep, fluid flowing to the brain eliminates excess protein, which means that when this process is disrupted, harmful proteins can build up and cause brain damage.
Although the study does not answer all the questions, experts believe that while they do not have a completely clear picture, the results show a strong connection between lack of sleep and dementia. Developing better sleep habits, a factor we are under our control and can work on, could lead to a preventative measure against dementia, a condition that has long been associated with genetics and mystery.
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