ANDn adults over 70, the number of hours slept can influence the health and functioning of the brain, according to research published in the journal JAMA Neurology and cited by CNN.
The researchers explain that interrupted sleep is a common element that affects older people and is directly linked to changes in cognitive function, particularly with regard to the mental capacity to learn, think, reason, solve problems, make decisions, remember and pay attention.
According to the study, CNN explains, age-related sleep changes were also linked to premature signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, depression and heart disease. As such, the researchers looked at potential links between sleep duration, demographic and lifestyle factors, subjective and objective cognitive function, and levels of beta amyloid, which is a marker of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Volunteers who reported constantly experiencing a brief period of sleep, between six hours or less, had higher rates of beta amyloid, which “greatly increases” the risk of dementia, Joe Winer, lead author of the work, postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, USA. Compared to volunteers who reported sleeping between seven and eight hours of sleep per night.
Additionally, the elderly with sleep deficits also performed moderately to notoriously worse on tests used in this age group to assess cognitive abilities.
On the other hand, sleeping a lot, from nine to more hours, was also associated with weaker executive functions, although these individuals did not have higher levels of beta amyloid.
“The main lesson is that it’s important to maintain healthy sleep at the end of life,” explained Winer.
“In addition, both people who sleep too little and people who sleep too much had higher body mass index and more depressive symptoms.”
In other words, according to the researcher, findings indicate that too few or too many hours of rest can lead to the development of underlying disease processes.
Read Also: Dementia can also arise in young adults, study warns
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