Poor sleep in middle-age harms brain health, may increase dementia risk

Credit: Unsplash+.

In a new study from The Australian National University, scientists found that poor sleep in middle age can have a negative impact on brain health, potentially increasing the risk of diseases like dementia.

Poor sleep refers to difficulties in getting adequate and restful sleep on a regular basis.

It can manifest in several ways, including difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning.

Poor sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and other negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health.

There are many possible causes of poor sleep, including medical conditions such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, lifestyle factors such as caffeine or alcohol consumption, stress, and environmental factors such as noise or light pollution.

Certain medications can also disrupt sleep, as can jet lag or shift work.

In the current study, researchers analyzed the sleep habits of over 29,000 people aged between 37 and 73.

The findings suggest that both too much and too little sleep can impair brain volume and cognitive measures such as reaction time and memory.

Daytime dozing was also linked to these indicators of impaired brain health.

The team highlights the need for greater focus on the links between sleep and brain health, and for more research into improving sleep.

The mechanisms underlying the link between sleep and brain health are not well understood.

But this study shows it could be an important target if we want to improve brain health into old age and delay the onset of dementia.

Dementia is among the world’s leading causes of death and is expected to affect 150 million people by 2050. There is currently no cure, which makes identifying risk factors even more important.

The findings of this study could provide a basis for combating major diseases like dementia. The implications of poor sleep on brain health highlight the need for individuals to prioritize healthy sleep habits.

The ANU study sheds light on the importance of sleep for brain health, emphasizing the need for further research into the relationship between sleep and brain function.

The findings suggest that improving sleep could be a valuable target for enhancing brain health and delaying the onset of dementia, which is an urgent public health concern affecting millions of people worldwide.

Researchers suggest that addressing poor sleep can involve making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine or alcohol, establishing a regular sleep schedule, and creating a sleep-conducive environment.

In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary, such as with the use of medications or devices to treat sleep apnea.

It is important to prioritize good sleep hygiene, as chronic poor sleep can have serious negative effects on a person’s health.

It can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions. Additionally, poor sleep can impair cognitive function, mood, and overall quality of life.

If you are struggling with poor sleep, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to identify potential underlying causes and develop a treatment plan.

Simple lifestyle changes, such as establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a comfortable sleep environment, can often improve sleep quality.

In some cases, medical interventions may be necessary to address more serious sleep disorders.

Regardless of the cause, taking steps to improve sleep hygiene can have significant positive effects on overall health and well-being.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about how sleep may help you process emotions, reduce PTSD, and this herb may help you sleep better at night.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about drugs that could treat sleep loss and insomnia, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

The study was conducted by Dr. Tergel Namsrai et al and published in Scientific Reports.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.