Sleeping less than six hours a night increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by almost a third


It is quite understandable if you have sleeping troubles. With the pandemic, who could relax during a time like this? But not having 7-8 hours a night only makes it worse.

Not getting enough sleep has a number of physiological effects on the body, including the risk of catching COVID-19.

But now a new study has found a strong link between lack of sleep and Alzheimer’s disease and according to him, people who sleep six hours or less are more likely to develop the devastating disease.

Scientists have tracked and analyzed nearly 8,000 Whitehall employees for more than 25 years.

Those who slept six hours or less at age 50 or 60 were more likely to develop the devastating disease.

In particular, rates of dementia increased by 30% in participants with consistently short sleep patterns between the ages of 50 and 70.

This has been compared to peers who managed the seven or eight hours recommended by health experts.

This was regardless of cardiovascular and metabolic conditions, such as diabetes, mental health issues like depression which are known triggers.

corresponding author Dr Severine Sabia, from the University of Paris, said sleep can eliminate unwanted brain proteins called beta amyloid.

They clump together in the brain, killing neurons, leading to devastating memory loss and confusion.

Dr Sabia said:

“Regularly sleeping six hours or less per night in middle age is associated with a higher risk of dementia.”

Baroness Margaret Thatcher is said to have only slept four hours a night. She had dementia when she died of a stroke in 2013 at the age of 87.

Dr Sabia added:

“The novelty of our study is to use repeated measures from the 40s to take into account the duration of sleep at specific ages.

“We have shown a consistent association between short sleep duration in midlife and the risk of dementia.

“This study highlights the importance of getting good sleep for brain health. This adds to the growing evidence that sleep is essential for health. These results should encourage good sleep hygiene. “

The international team, including British researchers, analyzed data from 7,959 officials followed since 1985.

They were between 35 and 55 years old when they were recruited for the ongoing Whitehall II health study.

The findings published in Nature Communications add to the growing evidence linking lack of firmness to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Dr Sabia said:

“These results cannot establish cause and effect. But they suggest there is a link between sleep duration and the risk of dementia.

It is known that during sleep, toxins are eliminated from the brain and other parts of the body, thus protecting against a host of diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Dr Sabia continued:

“There are plausible biological hypotheses to explain the link between sleep duration and dementia.

“One of them concerns the role of sleep in the elimination of protein waste in the brain.

“During a period of wakefulness, neuronal activity increases the release of beta-amyloid proteins, these proteins are then eliminated from the brain during sleep.

“In the case of short sleep, the clearance of these proteins could be altered and lead to an accumulation of Amyloid beta in the brain.

“The accumulation of these proteins is observed in Alzheimer’s disease. Other mechanisms could also imply a role of sleep in neuroinflammation and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). “

Globally, around 50 million people suffer from dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases each year, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr Sabia said:

“A common symptom is impaired sleep. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that sleep patterns before the onset of dementia may contribute to the disease.

“Time spent sleeping is linked to the risk of dementia in those over 65, but it is not known whether this association is also true for younger age groups.”

The duration of sleep was self-reported by the participants – some of whom wore wristwatch-style accelerometers at night to confirm the accuracy of the results.

Dr Sabia said:

“The results suggest that sleep may be important for midlife brain health.”

The Sleep Foundation in the United States advises seven to eight hours specifically for those over 65.

With no cure in sight, there is an increasing emphasis on lifestyle changes that can help protect against it.

Dr Sabia said:

“Sleep dysregulation is a hallmark of dementia, but it is still unclear whether sleep duration before old age is associated with the incidence.

“Here, we report a higher risk associated with sleeping six hours or less at ages 50 and 60, compared to normal seven hours.

“Persistent short sleep duration at ages 50, 60 and 70 was also associated with a 30% increased risk independent of socio-demographic, behavioral, cardiometabolic and mental health factors.

“These results suggest that a short sleep duration in your 40s is associated with an increased risk of late-onset dementia.”

Changes in sleep patterns are common in dementia patients, believed to be the result of processes affecting the brain.

Observational studies have shown that cognitive decline is fueled by too short or too long sleep. Dr Sabia found no “solid evidence” for the latter.

Some studies have also linked changes in sleep patterns in older people with dementia.

Dr Sabia said:

“Future research may be able to determine whether improving sleep patterns can help prevent dementia.

“Public health messages to encourage good sleep hygiene may be particularly important for people at higher risk for dementia.”

She added:

“Future research may be able to determine whether improving sleep patterns can help prevent dementia.”

Earlier this year, a study of nearly 3,000 people over the age of 65 in the United States found that less than five hours of sleep per night doubled their risk of dementia.

Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, Director of the Surrey Sleep Research Center, University of Surrey and UK Dementia Research Institute Group Leader, said: link between sleep and dementia. “

Dr Sara Imarisio, Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Many of us have had a bad night’s sleep and probably know that it can impact our short-term memory and thinking, but an intriguing question is whether long-term sleep patterns can affect our risk of dementia.

“This study cannot distinguish between cause and effect and, although it suggests that a lower persistent sleep duration is linked to an increased risk of dementia, it did not find an association between a duration of longer than average sleep and the risk of dementia.

“While there is no sure-fire way to prevent dementia, there are things under our control that can reduce our risk.

“The best evidence suggests that not smoking, drinking in moderation, staying active mentally and physically, eating a balanced diet, and controlling cholesterol and blood pressure levels can all help keep our brains healthy as we age. “

Dr Elizabeth Coulthard, a dementia neurologist at the University of Bristol, said:

“This study adds new information to the emerging picture because sleep is reported in a middle-aged cohort which is then followed over 30 years.

“This means that at least some of the people who developed dementia probably didn’t already have it at the start of the study when their sleep was first assessed.

“Thus, it strengthens the evidence that poor sleep in middle age could cause or worsen dementia later in life.”

Robert howard, professor of old age psychiatry at University College London, said:

“We know that the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease appear in the brain 20 years before detectable cognitive impairment, so it’s still possible that poor sleep is a very early symptom of the disease, rather than a contributing factor. treatable risk.

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