Can Getting Too Much Sleep Cause Dementia?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, oIder adults from age 65 and up should get 7-8 hours of sleep. For those who are regularly getting 9 or more hours of shut-eye, it might be an early indication of dementia.
A study published in February 2017 in the online journal Neurology® found that sleeping more than nine hours a day could represent early brain degeneration and an increased risk of dementia in older adults. The study was conducted by researchers led by Dr. Sudha Seshadri, professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine. Data was collected on 2,457 people living in Framingham, Massachusetts, with an average age of 72 years. These adults were regularly monitored and surveyed over the course of 10 years, as part of a community-wide, large-scale study.
The study found that those who slept more than nine hours doubled their risk of developing dementia within 10 years, versus those who slept nine hours or less. Education was also noted as a potential contributing factor, with participants who lacked a high school diploma and regularly slept more than nine hours a day being six times more likely to develop dementia.
Currently, more than five million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer's, and it's the sixth leading cause of death in the US. It was also reported by the Alzheimer's Association that the disease and other dementias will have cost the nation $259 billion this year alone, and by 2050, that number is expected to reach $1.1 trillion. An even more frightening statistic states that someone in the US develops Alzheimer's every 66 seconds, making it one of the fastest growing diseases in the country.
So will reducing your sleep duration help? "These results suggest that if someone is sleeping longer, it may be an early marker of neurodegeneration," said Dr. Seshadri. "Unfortunately, it is likely that any efforts to reduce their amount of sleep would not lower their risk of dementia."
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