"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Differences in sleep duration linked to deterioration in considering skills: study

December 5, 2023 – Older individuals who don't get the identical amount of sleep each night could also be at higher risk of problems with their considering skills as they grow old, in line with a brand new study.

It is the primary study to link what researchers call “sleep variability” to a decline in considering skills (also called cognitive decline), which might include memory and a spotlight problems that sometimes precede more serious diseases equivalent to Alzheimer's disease. disease occur.

Previous studies have already established a connection between sleep and cognitive health. This latest evaluation also found that folks who slept lower than 7 hours per night were thrice more prone to develop cognitive problems. However, the researchers said their study is the primary so as to add sleep variability to this risk, likely because their study included more assessment items over the greater than 20-year study period.

“Our findings show us that long-term maintenance of healthy, consistent sleep habits may be important for optimizing brain health as we age. “So it's important to make sure that good sleep is a regular part of your life – not just on weekends and not just on vacation,” said researcher Jeffrey Iliff, PhD, professor of psychiatry, behavioral sciences and neurology at the University of Washington School of Medicine said in a opinion.

The new findings were published Monday in the Journal JAMA network opened. Researchers analyzed more than 20 years of self-reported sleep data from 826 elderly people, whose average age was 76 years. At the start of the study, they had healthy cognition and completed tests that looked for changes in their cognitive functions, such as tests of attention and memory skills.

Researchers divided people in the study into three sleep categories based on how much they reported sleeping: short sleepers, who slept less than 7 hours per night, medium sleepers, who slept about 7 hours per night, and long sleepers, who slept more than 7 hours every night.

Next, each group was compared based on changes in their cognitive tests over time, and the researchers also compared how long people in each group lived. People whose sleep fluctuated significantly over the years were up to three times more likely to experience cognitive decline, tests they conducted found. (The report did not specify how many minutes of varied sleep were associated with the increased risk.)

The authors cautioned that the results were based on people's own reports of how long they slept, which could be inaccurate. The connection also doesn't appear to be just a matter of people sleeping a little longer or a little less over time, they wrote.

“Our analysis suggests that this sleep variability does not simply reflect a consistent increase or decrease in sleep duration over time,” the authors write. “It is possible that the observed variability only reflects changes in self-reported, rather than objective, sleep duration over time.”

Other things that would have influenced the outcomes, they wrote, were the onset of other health problems that include age, equivalent to depression, chronic pain, getting up more often to go to the toilet at night, and other lifestyle changes like shift changes Work, retirement or changes in marital status.