Adults who sleep six hours or less a night have a 30% higher risk of dementia, according to a study from the University of Paris published. The research, conducted by Dr. Séverine Sabia, does not show that poor sleep causes dementia, but it does show that lack of sleep can lead to a disease that impairs the nervous system. Nor can it be said that improving sleep reduces the risk of dementia; however, sleeping removes toxic waste from the brain.
“These findings suggest that sleep duration could be a risk factor for dementia in adulthood,” said Dr. Sabia. “I can’t tell you that sleep duration is a cause of dementia, but it can contribute to its development.”
The study began with data from a survey published in 1985 by University College London’s Whitehall II. From there, they analyzed the health and lifestyles of the volunteers. In the results they found that 521 participants developed dementia and the majority were diagnosed in their late 70s.
The study found that the risk for men increased by about a quarter. It is estimated that dementia affects one in 14 people over the age of 65 and one in six people over the age of 80, and the risk increases with age.