It is already known and proven that sleep quality is important for good health. However, how long a person sleeps is also important, especially as they get older. New scientific research shows that nights of sleep that are too short or, conversely, too long can have a negative impact on the brain.
Does sleep duration affect the brain in older people?
Researchers wanted to find out whether sleep duration plays a role in the brain health of older people, particularly in cognitive performance. Although the study has some limitations, the researchers made some interesting observations. The study included 4,417 people aged 65 to 85 from several countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan. The results, published in JAMA Neurology, were based on self-assessments by study participants. They found that sleeping too little is just as bad as sleeping too much. According to the authors, “too little sleep” is less than six hours. More than nine hours of sleep is considered too much. It turns out that both too little and too much sleep are associated with cognitive decline in older people. Scientists have also found a link between sleep duration and increased symptoms of depression and cardiovascular disease. The need for daytime sleep is linked to the quality and duration of night-time sleep.
A higher amyloidβ load
The scientific explanation for this link is that older people who sleep less have a higher amyloidβ load. Beta-amyloid is a protein that accumulates to form amyloid plaques. These clusters, which are found in nerve cells, are suspected to be one of the causes of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s facts. The protein is also thought to play a role in reducing communication between nerve cells. The quality and duration of sleep change with age. Sleep disturbances may be related to cognitive functions such as memory, language, concentration, and perception. In addition, sleep duration also affects body mass index – people who sleep too long or too short have a higher body mass index. Therefore, it is important for brain health, especially in older people, to get a healthy amount of sleep.
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