Going to sleep at certain time could increase your dementia risk

Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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Dementia describes a cluster of symptoms associated with an ongoing cognitive decline. One of the key goals of dementia research is to reveal the mechanisms that contribute to the condition as early as possible. Now, a new study suggests that going to sleep early could play a role in the mind-robbing condition.

If you are a fan of calling it a day early as well as sleeping in, new research has bad news for you.

According to a study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, going to bed at a certain time could boost an elderly’s person’s risk of dementia.

The Chinese research team from Shandong University found that certain sleeping patterns of people over the age of 60 could determine their risk of developing the brain condition.

The subjects who went to bed before 9 pm each night and slept for more than eight hours on average had a whopping 70-percent higher risk of dementia.

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While quality shut-eye is crucial for the health of your brain, you can overdo it, just like anything else.

Looking at almost 2,000 participants, the research team gathered sleep data from subjects between the ages of 60 and 74.

Each participant had to answer questions about their sleep habits and have their cognitive function measured.

The subjects were followed for around four years on average to determine their sleeping patterns and brain health.

During this period, researchers noticed that those who often slept for longer were 70 percent more likely to develop dementia.

They also warned that sleeping more than usual may be an early sign of the mind-robbing condition in elderly people.

The researchers believe that these people should be monitored and screened for dementia to get treatment started as soon as possible.

Furthermore, this isn’t the only abnormal sleep pattern that could indicate cognitive decline.

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The study, published in the Sleep journal, found that insomnia was also linked to an increased risk of dementia.

The research looked at data from more than 26,000 participants between the ages of 45 and 85. 

The subjects had to complete self-reported evaluations of their sleep and memory as well as complete neurological testing during three years.

Nathan Cross, a postdoctoral fellow on the study, said: “We found that insomnia specifically was related to worse memory performance compared to those who have some insomnia symptoms alone or no sleep problems at all.”

This means that both the lack of sleep as well as sleeping too much could be risk factors for the condition, however, Alzheimer’s Society explains that the topic of sleep and dementia is “complicated”.

The charity penned: “Different types of dementia are associated with different sleep problems. 

“Researchers are also not yet sure which way the interaction goes – whether poor sleep causes or exacerbates dementia or if dementia leads to poor sleep. 

“Some researchers believe that both of these theories could be true, and the relationship could be circular.”

The NHS recommends talking to your GP if poor sleep has an impact on your daily life.

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