Don’t Lose Sleep Over Research Showing Losing Sleep Increases Dementia Risk!

Read Time: 2:51
Published: Apr 21st, 2021
Research Shows Less Sleep Increases Dementia Risk!

We tend to lose sleep for many reasons. Sometimes just our lifestyle leads to not getting enough sleep. Now, new research shows that if you are getting less than six hours of sleep a night, you increase your risk of dementia by 30%.

"What's the message for us all? Evidence of sleep disturbance can occur a long time before the onset of other clinical evidence of dementia," said Tom Dening, head of the Centre for Dementiaat the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham in the U.K., in a statement.

Dementiais Progressive – Patients Need Supervision

Dementiais a word describing a collection of symptoms, including memory loss, problems with reasoning, perception, and communication skills. These symptoms tend to worsen over time adversely impact families and their finances as they find ways to care for their loved one, who usually requires supervision and other long-term health care services. 

Changes in sleep patterns are common in persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, researchers indicate. There is a growing interest by scientists in the association between a person's sleep duration and dementia. Research shows that both short and long sleep duration is associated with the increased risk of dementia.

The study published in the journal Nature Communications reveals that getting less than six hours of sleep a night during the workweek can damage your brain prematurely. 

Less Than Six Hours Not Good

Researchers have watched approximately 8,000 people over the last quarter of a century and found a higher dementia risk with a "sleep duration of six hours or less than those who slept seven hours a night.

Persistent sleep deprivation between the ages of 50 to 70 was also linked to a 30 percent increase in developing dementia. This increase is regardless of "sociodemographic, behavioral, cardiometabolic, and mental health factors," including depression. 

"Sleep is important for normal brain function and is also thought to be important for clearing toxic proteins that build up in dementias from the brain," said Tara Spires-Jones in a released statement. 

Jones is the deputy director of the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Leading Cause of Long-Term Health Care

Dementia, including Alzheimer's, is a leading cause of long-term health care. According to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, the cost of extended care, including supervision of those with dementia, increases every year, placing financial and emotional burdens on families who are usually unprepared for the consequences.  

Health insurance, including Medicareand supplements, generally will not pay for most long-term care services. Medicaid, the medical welfare program, will pay for this care, but a person must have little or no income and assets.

Many family members find themselves thrown into the role of being a caregiver attempting to balance that job along with their own career and family responsibilities. 

LTC Insurance Offers Help for Families

Many families are now adding Long-Term Care Insurance to their retirement plan to give them the resources to pay for the quality care they will want decades from now. However, experts say you should consider planning in your 40s or 50s when premiums are low, and your health makes it easier to obtain coverage. 

Most experts recommend seeking the assistance of an experienced and qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist since premiums vary over 100% between companies, and coverage and underwriting criteria vary dramatically.

About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

Editor's Note

For many people, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives them independence, asset protection, and access to their choice of quality care - including in-home care. When you own an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you give your family a plan and the gift of time. Instead of being your caregiver, they remain your loved one. Professionals can provide care, but only family can provide love.

The problem is the longer you live the greater the risk of needing extended health care, including dementia. Long-term care is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. Preparing your family and finances for changing health in the future will safeguard assets and reduce the stress and anxiety otherwise placed on your loved ones.

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LTC News Contributor James Kelly
James Kelly

Contributor Since
August 21st, 2017

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

About the Author

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

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