According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, your sleep may influence your dementia risk. But it’s not what you might expect.
Researchers found that sleeping more than 8 hours a night increased your dementia risk by 69%.
They also found that those who went to bed earlier had an increased risk. Participants who went to sleep before 9 pm increased their risk two-fold compared to 10 pm or later.
This study paves the way for future research that includes reducing and delaying sleep timing to delay dementia onset.
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So how did they figure this out?
97 out of 2,000 participants in China were diagnosed with dementia following a 3.7-year period. They found older adults in this study who lived in rural areas went to bed earlier. They also woke up earlier and sleep less compared to their counterparts in the city.
These participants showed a higher rate of developing dementia.
This is likely due to differences in socioeconomic status, culture, education, and lifestyle.
Scientists say there is a relationship between age, sex, and other demographics and cognitive decline and sleep challenges.
But, the link between sleep and dementia has been inconsistent and requires further studies.
It should also be noted that sleep was self-reported in this study and potential factors such as undiagnosed sleep apnea was not taken into consideration.
Improving Sleep Hygiene
Despite the need for more in-depth studies, we know sleep is important. Below are some tips to help improve the quality of your sleep.
- Set a consistent bedtime and waketime
- Avoid the use of blue light from the T.V., cellphones, tablets, and computers at least 1 hour before bed.
- Give yourself at least 2 hours to digest your last meal before hitting the sack. Avoid eating a large meal right before bed.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol before bed
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Create a relaxing environment at a comfortable temperature to encourage sleep.
- Get out and get moving during the day to help you fall asleep easily at night.
Sleep is important for our health, but it’s not always easy to come by. Sleeping more or earlier may not mean good sleep.
A recent study has linked some of the effects of sleep challenges with an increased risk of dementia.
Although more research is needed, this study emphasizes the importance of making good quality sleep a priority.