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
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
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
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
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