SLEEP: Too little sleep in middle age increases dementia risk
May 13, 2021 • 1 min read
-- Getting less than six hours of sleep a night could lead to dementia
A new study suggests that people who don’t get enough sleep in their 50s and 60s may be more likely to develop dementia when they are older.
The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, followed nearly 8,000 people in Britain for about 25 years, beginning when they were 50 years old.
Researchers found that those who consistently reported sleeping six hours or less on an average weeknight were about 30% more likely than people who regularly got seven hours sleep (defined as “normal” sleep in the study) to be diagnosed with dementia nearly three decades later.
There are compelling scientific theories about why too little sleep might exacerbate the risk of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s. Studies have found that cerebrospinal fluid levels of amyloid, a protein that clumps into plaques in Alzheimer’s, increase with sleep deprivation.
Other studies of amyloid and another Alzheimer’s protein, tau, suggest that sleep is important for clearing proteins from the brain.
Here’s a guide to becoming a more successful sleeper.