According to study author Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School who specializes in sleep research, these findings serve as additional knowledge that sleep plays a very important role, each night, in reducing the long‐term risk for neural cognitive decline and all-cause mortality.
People With A Lack Of Sleep Are More Prone To Dementia And Premature Death
Experts say the link between sleep, dementia, and premature mortality from any cause is especially concerning because of Americans’ and people all over the world’s sleeping patterns. Sleep deprivation, according to the World Sleep Society, is endangering the health of up to 45 percent of the world’s population.
People should obtain between seven and ten hours of sleep every night, depending on their age. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three Americans does not get enough sleep.
Furthermore, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome, which can disrupt a good night’s sleep.
The CDC considers this a public health issue since sleep disruption is linked to an increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and dementia.
The research, which was just published in the Journal of Sleep Research, examined data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), which conducts yearly in-person interviews with a nationally representative sample of 6,376 Medicare beneficiaries.
The current study looked at data from 2011 to 2018, with a focus on those in the highest risk category, those who indicated they experienced sleep problems most nights or virtually every night.
The research participants’ self-reported sleep problems were then compared to their medical data.
Because the NHATS research recorded yearly sleep data, the new study was able to track each person’s overall sleep problems over eight years, rather than merely catching a snapshot in time. This was a research strength, according to Robbins, because sleep health may fluctuate over time.
Another feature of the study was its ability to disentangle the influence of difficulty falling asleep vs frequent nocturnal awakenings on the risk of dementia and mortality.
The study discovered that those who had difficulty falling asleep most nights had a 44 percent greater chance of dying prematurely from any cause. Those who indicated they frequently woke up in the middle of the night and struggled to get back to sleep had a slightly greater risk, with a 56 percent increased chance of dying prematurely from any cause.
The risk of dementia was comparable. People who reported having trouble falling asleep regularly had a 49 percent greater risk of dementia, while those who frequently woke up in the night and had difficulty going back to sleep had a 39% increased risk of dementia.
People who had difficulty falling and staying asleep, on the other hand, were at a higher risk of dementia or dying prematurely for any reason.
According to specialists, getting enough sleep is essential for our general health and cognitive reserve.
According to 2017 research, healthy middle-aged people who slept poorly for one night generated an excess of beta-amyloid plaques, one of the markers of Alzheimer’s disease. Beta-amyloid is a sticky protein molecule that inhibits communication between brain cells and when it accumulates in the brain, eventually kills the cells.
The study discovered that a week of disturbed sleep increased the quantity of tau, another protein responsible for the tangles linked with Alzheimer’s, frontal lobe dementia, and Lewy body disease.
Another 2017 study linked dementia indicators in spinal fluid to self-reported sleep difficulties and discovered that people with sleep problems were more likely to have tau pathology, brain cell destruction, and inflammation. This was true even when other variables such as depression, body mass, cardiovascular disease, and sleep medicines were included.
According to research released in April, not obtaining a complete seven or eight hours of sleep every night is also connected to dementia. The research disclosed a greater dementia risk with a sleep duration of six hours or less at age 50 and 60 compared to those who slept seven hours a night after tracking almost 8,000 participants for 25 years.
Furthermore, the study found that persistently low sleep duration between the ages of 50, 60, and 70 was linked with a 30% higher dementia risk, regardless of sociodemographic, behavioral, cardiometabolic, and mental health variables, including depression.