A recent study conducted by the University of Miami Miller School has found a possible link between sleep and the early onset of Dementia.
The cause of dementia, which is an umbrella term used for progressive neurological conditions that include symptoms of memory loss and impaired judgement, and most often develops in the elderly is yet unknown and there is no known way to prevent it. However, certain lifestyle choices may increase the risk of an early onset.
A recent study conducted on 5247 people between the ages of 45 and 75 years as part of the nationwide Hispanic Community Health Study has found early warning signs of dementia in the ones that slept for more than 9 hours per night. People getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night are also said to be at risk. The research also claims that the optimum amount of sleep is for 7- 8 hours.
Although it is not clear why too much sleep may lead to dementia, one possible explanation is that the people already at risk of developing the disorder have disruptions in their brain which promotes longer sleeps.
The National Sleep Foundation of America emphasises that certain sleep habits may help protect brain health. According to the NSA site, “People who have restless, poor sleep have a higher risk of cognitive decline than those who sleep straight through the night.” To Achieve this they recommend the use of white noise machines, blackout curtains or eyepatches if necessary.
The website also recommends talking to your doctor if you notice any changes in your sleeping habits as recognising early symptoms that could help slow down the onset of the illness and prolong the quality of life for a longer period of time.
The Symptoms to watch out for are memory loss, change in thinking speed, language, judgement, trouble controlling emotions, mental sharpness, movement, apathy and uninterest towards usual activities, among others.
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