A study published in Age and Ageing indicates that experiencing insomnia and short sleep durations during middle age may elevate the risk of developing dementia.
Researchers from Zhejiang University School of Public Health analyzed data from 22,078 participants in the Swedish National March Cohort who were free from dementia and stroke at the start of the study and were followed for a median of 19.2 years.
Participants who reported any symptoms of insomnia had a higher incidence of dementia with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.08 during the follow-up period.
Specifically, difficulty in initiating sleep was associated with an increased risk for dementia (HR, 1.24), while difficulty maintaining sleep or early morning awakening did not show a significant correlation.
Short sleep duration also exhibited a correlation with increased dementia risk; six versus eight hours (HR, 1.29) and five versus eight hours (HR, 1.26).
The risk of dementia seemed to elevate among participants experiencing insomnia symptoms with at least seven hours of sleep but not among those with less than seven hours of sleep.
The findings suggest that addressing sleep issues, specifically insomnia and short sleep duration, during middle age, could potentially serve as a preventive measure against the development of dementia.
Given the substantial impact of dementia on long-term health, public health interventions focusing on sleep health may offer significant benefits by mitigating the risk of dementia.
The study underscores the potential link between insomnia, short sleep duration in middle age, and elevated risk of dementia.
Implementing midlife assessments focusing on sleep duration and frequency of insomnia symptoms may aid in early intervention, possibly improving long-term health outcomes by reducing the incidence of dementia.
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The research findings can be found in Age and Aging.
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