Can Poor Sleep Lead to Dementia?

Sleep and dementia
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Getting the right amount of sleep is important to overall health.

Sleep patterns change throughout life.

Different stages of development require different amounts of sleep or even different times for rest.

Babies are asleep for most of the day.

Eventually, young children grow to dislike naps.

Teenagers are notorious for staying up late and waking up late.

According to a recent Money Talks News article titled “This Is the ‘Ideal’ Amount of Sleep for Older Adults,” many people wonder whether there is an ideal amount of sleep.

Poor sleep may increase the risk of developing dementia.
Seven hours of sleep may be the magic number.

A recent study conducted by a team of researches at the University of Cambridge in England and Fudan University in China sought an answer to this question.

Rather than focusing on children and teenagers, the researchers studied data from about a half-million British adults ages 38 to 73.

The data provided details on sleeping patterns, physical health, and mental health.

What were the results of this study?

The researchers found the perfect number to be seven.

Those who got seven hours of sleep each night had better mental and physical health.

Study participants who slumbered more or less than seven hours of sleep demonstrated poorer mental health and cognitive performance.

Specifically, depression and anxiety were higher in these individuals.

Although researchers were hesitant to state failure to get the proper amount of rest leads to cognitive issues, they did acknowledge that the data over a longer period of time seem to demonstrate this.

Why might this be?

Researchers shared how disrupting slow-wave “deep sleep” may lead to a buildup of amyloid.

The amyloid protein can lead to the development of “tangles” in the brain associated with dementia.

Additionally, the body gets rid of toxins while a person is asleep.

As such, simply failing to get the proper amount of sleep can prohibit the removal of toxins from the brain.


Although genetics and brain structure can influence the amount of sleep people can get as they age, taking steps to improve habits around bedtime could increase their chances of getting the right amount of rest.

With a wink and a nod in the direction of Monte Python, “seven hours shall be your sleep number, not six hours or eight hours, but seven hours shall be your sleep number.”

Reference: Money Talks News (May 5, 2022) “This Is the ‘Ideal’ Amount of Sleep for Older Adults”

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