Research has analyzed nearly 8,000 people over a period of about 25 years
Does lack of sleep increase your chance of developing dementia?
For years, researchers have been thinking about this and other questions about how sleep is related to cognitive decline. The answer is elusive because it is difficult to know whether lack of sleep is a symptom of the brain changes behind dementia, or whether it can actually help cause these changes.
Now, a new large study reports some of the most convincing findings. These findings indicate that people between the ages of 50 and 60 who do not get enough sleep are more likely to develop dementia when they are older.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday. Although it has limitations, it also has many advantages. Since the UK was 50 years old, it has tracked nearly 8,000 Britons for 25 years. The study found that people who reported an average of less than six hours of sleep at night on weekdays were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those who slept for seven hours on a regular basis.
Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of dementia, said: “Almost thirty years ago, this dream was indeed a symptom of dementia, which is really unlikely. Therefore, this large study provides strong evidence that sleep is indeed a risk factor. .” and psychiatry. The University of California, San Francisco was not involved in this research.
It is known that pre-dementia brain changes (such as protein accumulation related to Alzheimer’s disease) start 15 to 20 years before people experience memory and thinking problems, so sleep patterns during this period can be considered a part of the disease. An emerging effect. Dr. Eric Musik, a neurologist and co-director of the Center for Biorhythm and Sleep at Washington University in St. Louis, said that this raises the question of whether the first thing to be solved is the chicken or the egg problem, the sleep problem or the pathological problem. , Who did not participate in the new survey.
He said: “I don’t know if this research will definitely reach an agreement, but it is close, because it has a lot of relatively young people.” “In they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or plaques in the brain. Before the pathology of tangles, they had a great chance to capture middle-aged people.”
British researchers extracted medical records and other data from a famous study called Whitehall II that began in the mid-1980s. The researchers tracked how many hours of sleep 7959 participants said they slept between 1985 and 2016. Six reports have been submitted. In this study, 521 people were diagnosed with dementia, with an average age of 77 years.
Study author Séverine Sabia, an epidemiologist at Inserm, said the research team was able to rule out various behaviors and characteristics that might affect people’s sleep patterns or the risk of dementia. These factors include smoking, drinking, people’s physical activity level, body mass index, fruit and vegetable intake, education level, marital status, and conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and disease.
To further clarify the relationship between sleep and dementia, the researchers separated people with mental illness before the age of 65. Depression is considered a risk factor for dementia, and “mental health disorders are closely related to sleep disorders,” Sabia said. A research analysis of participants without mental illness found a similar association between people with insufficient sleep and an increased risk of dementia.
Dr. Sabia said that this correlation holds true regardless of whether people are taking sleeping pills or not, and whether they have a mutation called “ApoE4”. This makes people more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Musiek said the new study “provides strong evidence that sleep is important for middle-aged people.” “But we still have a lot to learn, and how relationships between people really happen and how to deal with them.”