Too little sleep may increase dementia risk: Study with disturbing finding

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Does a lack of sleep have a negative effect on our health? Does it even increase the risk of developing dementia? A new study provides disturbing findings.

Scientists at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris (Inserm) wanted to know whether there is a connection between little sleep and dementia. As reported by ntv.de, the researchers analyzed data from several thousand people.

Reducing the risk of dementia by getting enough sleep: New study with startling findings
It is known from some studies that people with dementia suffer from sleep disorders. But how does the connection behave the other way around? To find out whether lack of sleep can lead to dementia, French scientists analyzed data from 7959 adults.

Since the 1980s, British civil servants have participated in the so-called Whitehall II study. In that study, the Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care (UCL) in London interviewed and medically examined subjects between 1985 and 1988 and then again in 2015 and 2016. In addition, the Paris-based research team used so-called accelerometers to record body movements in 4267 of its own subjects in 2012 and 2013. The data obtained in this way was used to objectify the data from the United Kingdom.

Factors such as physical activity, fitness, and nicotine and alcohol consumption were also included in the analyses of the data.

Are dementia or Alzheimer’s more likely with sleep deprivation?
The results of the elaborate study confirm what the researchers had already suspected: people with little sleep are more at risk of developing dementia in old age than people who had enough sleep in their younger years. According to the study, people who slept six hours or less per night at age 50 or 60 have a 20 to 40 percent higher risk of dementia.

“We found, using a very long follow-up period, that short-term sleep in midlife, assessed more than 25 years before the average age at dementia onset, was associated with dementia risk later in life,” Inserm scientist Séverine Sabia was quoted as saying by ntv.de.

The researchers did not find a link between more sleep and a risk of dementia. That is why they want to continue the study.

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