Best Life: Sleep may reduce dementia risk

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 7:40 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. In the short-term, lack of sleep may cause emotional distress, slower response times and increased stress levels. And now long-term effects may include some irreversible health problems.

According to the CDC, the United States is becoming a sleep-deprived nation.

Jagdish Khubchadani, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University, told Ivanhoe, “In 2008, some 25 percent of Americans slept less than seven hours which is required. By 2018, those numbers have become a third of Americans are sleeping lesser than they should.”

The negative effects of that shortage of sleep are long.

“Anxiety, your reflexes become poor, your judgment becomes poor, anger management becomes an issue and in the long run, you continue to gain weight. You have a risk of heart disease, cancers, and stroke,” said Khubchadani.

Now recent studies show that lack of sleep can increase your risk for dementia too. Researchers at Harvard found people who slept fewer than five hours per night were twice as likely to develop dementia and twice as likely to die, compared to those who slept six to eight hours per night.

In another study in Europe, researchers found sleeping six hours or less at age 50, 60 and 70 was associated with a 30% increase in dementia risk compared to sleeping seven hours. So how can you get some quality ZZZs?

“Maintaining a schedule, keeping technology away in the bedroom, not drinking coffee and alcohol before you sleep. Those are three basic things that you can do to, you know, ensure that you’re getting a good quality sleep and are at lower risk for health problems,” said Khubchadani.

Experts say to avoid using over-the-counter sleeping pills as they can do more harm than good. However, if your sleep disruption is causing you distress, seek a qualified physician to diagnose you and prescribe proper medication.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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