Getting Little Sleep May Increase Risk of Dementia & Death

Getting Little Sleep May Increase Risk of Dementia & Death

Getting Little Sleep May Increase Risk of Dementia & Death 1920 1280 Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

Research has shown that getting nightly sleep of five hours of less may increase the risk of dementia and death among older adults.

An investigation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked into how sleep and sleep disruptions could affect the risk of obtaining dementia and other problems later in life. Participants who reported getting less than 5 hours of sleep had double the risk of obtaining dementia. Sleep disruptions like nap frequencies, how long it took participants to fall asleep, and sleep quality, also showed in increase risk of death.

Read more of the study below.

“[Researchers] found a strong relationship between several sleep disturbance and deficiency variables and incident dementia over time. Routinely taking 30 minutes or longer to fall asleep was associated with a 45 percent greater risk for incident dementia. Routinely experiencing a difficulty in maintaining alertness, routinely napping, reporting poor sleep quality, and sleeping five or fewer hours per night was also associated with increased risk of death.

‘This prospective study reveals that sleep deficiency at baseline, when the average age of participants was 76 years old, was associated with double the risk of incident dementia and all-cause mortality over the next 4 to 5 years,’ said senior author, Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD, FRCP, FAPS, chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders.

‘These data add to the evidence that sleep is important for brain health and highlight the need for further research on the efficacy of improving sleep and treating sleep disorders on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mortality.’

The authors call for further study of the causal relationship between sleep and dementia and death, as insights may lead to a new lens through which to view sleep among older adults.

‘Our study demonstrates that very short sleep durations and poor-quality sleep in the elderly increase the risk of developing dementia and earlier death. There should be increased focus on obtaining healthy sleep in older adults,’ said second author Stuart Quan, MD, of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders.”


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Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

Dr. Ruelas holds doctoral degrees and is licensed to practice in both medicine and psychology. He approaches his patients by gathering and analyzing data differently from other physician’s moving away from a disease model to a holistic functional model. Read Bio

All articles by : Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.