"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Will more sleep help protect me from dementia?

Ask the doctor.

I get five to 6 hours of sleep an evening. My doctor says it's not enough, and sleeping longer will protect me from dementia. Is there any truth on this?

Oh Many published studies have shown that folks who sleep lower than seven hours or greater than nine hours an evening usually tend to develop various chronic diseases, including dementia, than those that get seven to nine hours an evening. Sleep for hours. However, these studies had weaknesses. Some didn’t include many patients. Others really only studied how long people slept once they reached age 65, not how long they slept once they were younger. Other studies lasted only 10 years, making it difficult to attract conclusions about ultimate health effects. Finally, most studies simply accepted how long study participants reported sleeping. And, sometimes, once we report on our healthy lifestyle practices, we cringe a bit.

So while I used to be inclined to consider that getting enough sleep was vital to an individual's health, and might even protect against dementia, I wasn't entirely convinced. Recently, though, a brand new study published online April 20, 2021 by the journal Nature CommunicationsGoes a great distance towards convincing me. Researchers chosen 8,000 50-year-olds after which followed them for 25 years. Study participants recorded how long they slept each night, and a few even wore devices that measured their body movements, verifying how long they slept. His reports were correct. In other words, the study overcame most of the weaknesses of earlier studies.

The results of the study were quite dramatic. People who, at age 50, slept a median of seven hours an evening were in comparison with those that slept a median of just six hours an evening: those that slept less were 22 percent more prone to develop dementia. It was more. The same comparison for 60-year-olds found that those that slept less were 37 percent more prone to develop dementia. For individuals who slept lower than six hours an evening—people such as you—the risks of developing dementia were even higher.

This was an observational study, so we are able to't say obviously that getting a median of seven hours of sleep an evening will lower your risk of dementia. To prove this, we might must do a randomized trial through which hundreds of individuals were required to get a median of seven hours of sleep an evening for 25 years, and hundreds of others to get a median of less sleep for 25 years. was The difficulty of ever conducting such a study in the true world is apparent. So I might say: hearken to your doctor. I can't guarantee that more sleep will protect you from dementia. But I bet you'll feel higher.

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