A large-scale study has shown that middle-aged adults, who have been sleeping only six hours or less might be at a higher risk of developing dementia as compared to people who have been sleeping for seven hours regularly. The study has continued for 25 years. The findings of the study have shown that people in the age range of 50 to 70 years who have been persistently having short sleep might be at a 30 percent greater risk of dementia. Experts have reached this conclusion after adjusting factors such as mental health, sociodemographics, and cardiometabolic state. The authors of the study have clearly stated that the increased risk of dementia among middle-aged adults is linked to constant short sleep duration. The new study has stemmed from a Whitehall II study that has enrolled around 8000 British people. The new study has been done by French scientists. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that dementia is one of the common neurodegenerative diseases that affect memory, attention, and communication. The findings of the study have been released in the Nature Communications Journal. The CDC has reported that nearly 5 million people in the range of 65 years and above have been dealing with dementia in 2014 and the figure will increase more than twofold and go up to be 14 million by 2060.
Health experts have said that the risk of dementia tends to shoot up with old age, particularly in the age group of 65 years and above. The disease includes risk factors such as family history and race or ethnicity as well. The authors of the study have repeatedly calculated the duration of sleep in 7959 participants during the 25 years-long study. They have collected self-reported data and other details from wristwatch accelerometers. At the end of the study, around 521 participants have been diagnosed with dementia. The authors of the study, who have been involved in the study, have said that good quality sleep helps improve cognitive performance and clears harmful beta-amyloid protein plaques that are accumulated in the brain. They have said that sleep deprivation can result in a detrimental effect on the brain. The authors of the new study have noted that in Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid plaques can damage nerve cells present in the brain. They have said that Alzheimer’s disease contributes to a large portion of dementia cases usually.
Health experts have said that amyloid plaque build-up induces poor sleep among older adults as it directly affects sleep-wake regulator brain regions. The corresponding author of the study, Dr. Severine Sabia from the University of Paris has said that more often difficulty in sleeping is an early symptom of dementia. The findings of the study have shown that sleep duration might be a risk factor for the onset of dementia in old age people. Although the authors of the study have been uncertain whether sleep duration might be a prime cause of dementia, they have said that it contributes to the growth of the mental disorder.