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Sleeping less than six hours a night during middle age can lead to dementia later in life says a study

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Posted: Saturday, April 24, 2021. 7:27 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Sleeping less than six hours a night during middle age can lead to dementia later in life according to a study said People magazine.

A study published in the Journal Nature Communications says that people in their 50s and 60s who on a regular basis sleep six hours or less have a 30% more probability of developing dementia in their older age than people who sleep seven hours a night or more.

According to Nature Communications, the researchers studied nearly 8,000 people in Great Britain from the time they turned 50 tracking their sleep patterns for 25 years.

Researchers came to their conclusion even after taking into consideration factors like depression that may also increase the risk of dementia.

The study said the researchers also took into account other factors such as smoking, drinking, exercise, diet, weight, plus illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.

Though the study found that lack of sleep may be related to dementia, the study could not prove that not sleeping enough can cause mental loss.

“Even though we can’t say sleep duration has a causal impact on dementia, it would be good to encourage good sleep hygiene,” said Séverine Sabia, an epidemiologist at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research who is a lead author of the study, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to Sabia, people could improve their sleep by putting away their electronic devices half an hour before going to sleep and by exercising regularly.

Other scientists concur that even if the study doesn’t prove that lack of sleep increases the risk of dementia, it shows that there is a link between short sleep and dementia, or an increased probability of dementia, and the recommendation is that people get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

According to ABC News, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend that infants and toddlers sleep between 11 and 16 hours a night depending on age.

Primary school children should sleep between nine to 12 hours per night.

Teenagers should get eight to 10 and adults ages 18 and over should sleep at least seven hours every night.

ABC News’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said people should have a regular sleep routine and they should keep any electronic device like a cellphone or television out of their bedroom which should preferably be cool, dark, and quiet.

Ashton also recommended avoiding caffeine, large meals, and alcohol hours before going to bed because these are sleep disrupters.

“What’s really important is that you can’t make up for [sleep] on the weekend,” said Ashton. “So, it really has to be every single night.”

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