Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Sleeping Just Right: Answer to Brain Function Decline in the Elderly

A recent study reveals that sleeping for a full eight hours may help delay the deterioration of brain function that comes with old age, thus lowering the risk for elderlies to have dementia.

In a study published in the journal PLOS One, pre-retirement aged men and women with inadequate sleep show signs of decline in brain function.

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His team of researchers in Warwick University analyzed data from 3,968 men and 4,821 women where results show that short sleep of below 6 hours at night was associated with lower brain function scores in adults aged 50 to 64.

Aside from this, they also found out that sleeping too long may impair brain function especially for older adults within the range 65 to 89 years old.

Leading the study was Dr. Michelle Miller who confirmed that six to eight hours of sleep per night is particularly important for optimum brain function.

"These results are consistent with our previous research, which showed that six to eight hours was optimal for physical health, including lowest risk of developing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke," she said.

However, Dr. Laura Phipps of Alzheimer's Research UK said that it is too soon to conclude that poor sleep will lead to dementia since study did not particularly look into the condition.

"Further research to better understand the links between sleep quality and our risk of dementia is needed before we can know whether improving our sleep quality could prevent the condition," she added.

While there is a general belief that the amount of sleep a human needs decreases with age, older people still need at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep.

"By ensuring you have about seven hours of sleep at night, you are protecting your future health, and reducing the risk of developing chronic illnesses. The link is clear from our research: get the sleep you need to stay healthy and live longer," says Dr. Miller's co-author Professor Francesco Cappuccio.

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