Sleeping less than 6 hours in middle age increases the risk of dementia

Alliance image / dpa theme service | Kristen Klose

It has long been known that lack of sleep can have serious long-term health consequences.

new a study From the UK they have now found a clear link between poor sleep and the risk of developing dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Not only does the study confirm previous studies, but it is particularly relevant because it began in the 1980s and is therefore very long-term.

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping. Some people sleep more, others sleep less. Even if sleep as a phenomenon is far from fully understood, adequate sleep is undoubtedly important. A large-scale study from England led by Séverine Sabia of University College London has now discovered an association between poor sleep and dementia. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, with 60 to 70 percent.

The sleep behavior of 7,959 British government employees was examined for this purpose. The study began in the 1980s and was expanded from 2012 to 2013: 4,267 participants were asked about their sleep and were also asked to wear a so-called accelerometer for nine days, which records their body movements. This made it possible to verify the information provided by the participants. The study was published in the famous specialized journal “nature” chest.

Sleeping less than 6 hours increases the risk of dementia by 37 percent

Central finding: Among the participants, ages 63 to 86, 521 were diagnosed with dementia. Those with an average sleep duration of less than 6 hours at age 50 were 22% more likely to be among the affected.

Those who slept less than six hours a night at age 60 were 37% more likely to get sick. Among short sleepers in their 70s, the effect was again lower, but still statistically relevant: Here there were 24 percent more patients than those in their 70s who slept more than six hours a day.

Inadequate sleep slows down brain regeneration

There have been studies in the recent past that indicated a link between dementia and sleep. Dementia develops over a long period of time – often decades.

Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common types of dementia in old age, is caused by the accumulation of harmful substances such as beta-amyloid in the brain. If the brain renews itself while sleeping at night, these deposits disintegrate. The Scientists found ten years ago Outside.

The results of the now-published study support earlier findings mainly because the study was long-term and large-scale. All participants were questioned multiple times over the years, which means that changes in sleep behavior were also included in the analysis. Other potential factors contributing to the development of the disease can also be considered through personal interviews: eg smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, body mass index, diet, education level and previous illnesses.

Because of the long observation period, an important alternative explanation for the relationship between sleep and dementia can also be ruled out: that lack of sleep is only a symptom of dementia onset.

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