Sophie Bostock, PhD
Does short sleep cause dementia?
New research published last week highlighted that 50 year olds sleeping for fewer than 7 hours each night were at 30% increased risk of dementia.
You can either read the full study, by Sabia and colleagues, here,
or you can watch the video to find out how scary this really is.
There were lots of great things about this study which I didn't mention here - including the fact that the main findings were reinforced by a smaller group of participants who wore wearables to measure their sleep. Objectively measured shorter sleep (not long sleep) was also associated with increased odds of dementia. The researchers also ruled out the effects of mental health problems, and other potential confounders.
There is little doubt that sleep helps to protects your brain's performance - not only on a day to day basis, by strengthening memories and creativity, but also by protecting against longer term decline. We don't yet understand all the mechanisms, but we do know that addressing sleep problems is a crucial step for health and wellbeing.