Getting less sleep at night may increase the risk of dementia among older adults

A recent study has found that older adults that get five or fewer hours of sleep each night may be at a higher risk of developing dementia.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging.

The new research was conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where experts racked up data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS).

The data was comprised of more than 2,600 participants who completed questionnaires in 2013 and 2014. Researchers aimed at examining the quality and quantity of sleep, in addition to the risk of dementia from insufficient sleep.

All in all, the findings demonstrated a strong association between sleep disturbances and the onset of dementia over the long-term.

As opposed to 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night, the healthy standard, adults who received five or fewer hours of sleep were at an increased risk of cognitive deterioration.

“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 one of the co-authors in a news release.

“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,” another co-author of the study concluded.

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