Getting Deep Sleep May Protect Against Dementia

A new study has found that even the slightest reduction in sound sleep for adults may increase their risk for dementia.

The paper which was published in the JAMA Neurology journal has highlighted the significance of a good night’s rest on brain health and better cognition. It stated categorically that there is a 27 percent chance that one would develop impairment in thinking and memory for every 1 percent reduction in deep sleep per year.

What is dementia disease and its correlation with deep sleep?

Dementia is a medical condition which is generally characterized by loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities. It is caused by abnormal brain damage which the lead study author; Matthew Pase, PhD, believes could be sourced from reduced sleep.

According to Matthew, deep sleep is critically important for an aging brain because it supports memory consolidation and helps to flush the brain of toxins that accumulate while awake.

He also added that at the end of their study, they found that “as people aged, the amount of deep, restorative stages of sleep declined, and those who had greater declines in slow-wave sleep had a high risk of going on to get dementia.”

Deep has restorative powers

The research which was conducted on a sample size of 350 participants with an average age of 69, was completed in two overnight sleep studies in the time periods 1995 to 1998 and 2001 to 2003. All research subjects had no dementia at the time of the second overnight sleep assessment.

In addition, the paper suggested that follow-ups were done in the next 17 years of which 52 cases of dementia were recorded. The findings revealed that each percentage decrease in deep sleep per year was associated with a 27 percent increase in the risk of dementia, and a 32 percent greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

Also, the study was an observational one so researchers could not determine whether the decline in deep sleep was causal or directly responsible for the elevated dementia risk.

How do you improve your sleep?

You could prevent neurodegenerative diseases by having sound sleep. The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation offers the following tips:

  • Avoid alcohol several hours before bedtime.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Keep your room dark and comfortable at night.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Abstain from caffeinated drinks after lunch.
  • Go to bed and get up at around the same time each day.

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