You know that sleep is important to your health. But unlike, say, eating vegetables, this isn't a case in which more is necessarily better. In fact, if you're a woman over 65, getting too much sleep can actually increase your risk for Alzheimer's and dementia just as much as getting too little sleep can.
While the researchers suspected that sleep likely played a role in risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, there wasn't any existing scientific evidence backing up that suspicion. So they reviewed the self-reported sleep habits of 7,444 women ages 65 to 80 to see if they could find a connection. All of these women participated in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study from 1995 to 2008.
After the researchers adjusted their findings for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, as well as depression, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and other conditions that can affect dementia risk, they found something surprising. There wasn't a simple inverse relationship like you might suspect: the less sleep, the higher the risk. Instead, the association formed a V. Those who slept between six and eight hours a night had the lowest risk, but those who slept for six or fewer hours or eight or more hours both had increased risks of both MCI/dementia and overall cognitive decline. And this wasn't a small increase. It was 36% higher for those who slept six or fewer hours regardless of whether they had CVD. And 35% higher for those who slept eight or more and did not have CVD.
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The researchers concluded that sleep habits in older women can be an important predictor of cognitive impairment risk. Fortunately, it's never too late to change your habits. If you have trouble getting at least a full six hours of sleep, particularly if you struggle with insomnia, try Advanced Sleep Formula to ensure you're getting enough rest. If you find that you're sleeping more than eight hours and still don't feel rested, you may want to discuss your sleep habits with your doctor. It's possible that an underlying issue is preventing you from getting fully restorative sleep. Factors could be sleep apnea, side effects from medications, neurotransmitter imbalances, or B-vitamin deficiencies. Advanced Sleep Formula in conjuction with melatonin may be able to help you as well, particularly if you aren't getting enough deep sleep.
Regardless of your sleep habits, if you want to keep your memory sharp as you age, I also recommend you take a memory formula, such as Advanced Memory Formula
. Getting the right amount of sleep is only one piece of the puzzle in avoiding cognitive decline and dementia. This supplement is full of nutrients that can supply several other vital pieces.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Jun 15. pii: S1552-5260(15)00195-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2015.03.004. [Epub ahead of print]