New research has found that there is a link between sleep problems and the risk of developing dementia over a 10-year period.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that having trouble falling asleep within 30 minutes (known as sleep-initiation insomnia) and taking sleep medication are associated with a higher risk of developing dementia.
However, people who have trouble falling back to sleep after waking up (known as sleep-maintenance insomnia) are less likely to develop dementia.
The study is unique because it is the first to look at long-term sleep disturbances and their connection to dementia risk using data from a nationally representative group of older adults in the United States.
The study used 10 years of data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study, which surveys a sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older.
The lead researcher, Roger Wong, was motivated to study this topic after his father experienced sleep problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wong was concerned about how this might affect his father’s cognitive health in the future.
Wong’s research found that focusing on the variations in sleep disturbances could help inform lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of developing dementia.
The researchers theorize that greater engagement in activities that preserve or increase cognitive reserve may decrease the risk of developing dementia among those with sleep-maintenance insomnia.
However, the mechanism for this is still unknown.
Recent evidence indicates that sleep disturbances are more common among older adults than among other age groups.
This may be due to a variety of factors, including anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic or warmer nights caused by climate change.
The researchers say that more research is needed to better understand the causes and consequences of sleep disturbances among older adults.
They also suggest that healthcare professionals should consider a patient’s history of sleep problems when assessing their risk of developing dementia.
In summary, this study provides further evidence of the link between sleep disturbances and the risk of developing dementia.
The findings highlight the importance of taking steps to promote healthy sleep habits, which may help reduce the risk of developing dementia in older adults.
If you care about sleep, please read studies about painkillers that could harm your sleep, and new jaw surgery may help treat sleep apnea.
For more information about sleep, please see recent studies that sleep is a new 8th measure of heart health, and results showing that heavy blankets could improve sleep.
Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.