“Little sleepers” over 50 have an increased risk of dementia

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According to a recent study, people aged 50 to 70 who sleep only six hours or less per night are at greater risk of dementia. However, the study does not firmly establish a cause and effect relationship.

Lack of sleep would promote dementia

Sleep is vital for health. INSERM, the University of Paris and University College London (United Kingdom) jointly published a study in the journal Nature communications on April 20, 2021. As part of this research, scientists have included no less than 8,000 British adults in their fifties, whose follow-up lasted for 25 years. Despite the scope of this work, the results do not allow a cause and effect relationship to be established, according to Séverine Sabia (INSERM), director of the study. On the other hand, they tend to suggest that the duration of sleep from the age of fifty could be involved in the development of dementia.

Every year in the world, no less than ten million new cases of dementia are reported. However, among the diseases that affect the brain in this way, the most frequent is not surprisingly Alzheimer’s disease. The point is, patients often have trouble sleeping. According to the study, sleep cycles are also likely to contribute to the development of the diseaseeven before the onset of dementia.

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Worrisome results

More specifically, this new study evokes people who have a sleep duration less than or equal to six hours per night at the age of fifty or sixty years. They would have a 20-40% higher risk of dementia. Research also reports a 30% increased risk of dementia in people aged 50 to 70 with a consistently short sleep duration.

Previous studies have reported an increased risk of dementia in those who sleep longer than average, but the results were inconsistent. More studies, including more people with longer sleep time, will be needed to understand the role of sleep duration in dementia risk.“, Can we read in the document.

In addition, this more pronounced risk in patients would have no connection with their possible cardiovascular, metabolic or mental health problems, which are known to promote the onset of dementia. Given that midlife sleep may play a role in brain health, the importance of a good sleep hygiene is essential.





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