Too much sleep ''leads to dementia risk''
Individuals who get too much sleep when they get older could be hindering their mental awareness, new research has shown.
According to a study presented at this week's Alzheimer's conference in Vancouver, Canada by scientists from the University of California San Francisco, researchers have determined that older individuals who get more than an additional two hours on top of their recommended seven hours could see the equivalent of two years in ageing when it comes to mental capacity.
Dr William Thies of the Alzheimer's Association in the United States commented: "We know sleep patterns change as people age and that poor sleep affects overall health. What we don't know for certain is whether poor sleep has long-term consequences on cognitive function."
Based on the accounts of 15,000 females aged over 70, the results showed an increased risk of cognitive decline in those who slept for longer, but also in those who slept for two hours less than the recommended amount.
Furthermore, the study revealed that those who suffer from sleep disorders, such as impaired breathing, also demonstrated a decline in mental abilities, with the research claiming this was linked to a lack of quality sleep that the individuals are getting on a daily basis.
The Alzheimer's Society stated in response to the research: "We're not saying you shouldn't enjoy the occasional lie in, but good quality sleep, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can all make a difference in reducing your risk."
Meanwhile, individuals who suffer from Parkinson's disease were recently shown to respond positively to greater amounts of sleep, with patients demonstrating improved motor function when awakening after a night of deep sleep without medication.
The project was carried out by Dr Sebastiaan Overeem of the Department of Neurology, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre.
Posted by Michael Ewing