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Sleep Deficiency, Disturbance Tied to Higher Dementia Risk

MONDAY, March 1, 2021 -- Very short sleep durations and poor-quality sleep in the elderly increase the risk for developing dementia and earlier death, according to a study published online Feb. 11 in Aging.

Rebecca Robbins, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (2,812 Medicare beneficiaries ≥65 years old) to assess the relationship between sleep disturbance and duration at baseline and all-cause mortality during five years of follow-up.

The researchers found that very short sleep duration (no more than five hours: hazard ratio [HR], 2.04) and sleep latency (>30 minutes: HR, 1.45) were associated with incident dementia in adjusted models. There were also associations seen for all-cause mortality and difficulty maintaining alertness ("some days": HR, 1.49; "most/every day": HR, 1.65), napping ("some days": HR, 1.38; "most/every day": HR, 1.73), sleep quality ("poor/very poor": HR, 1.75), and very short sleep duration (no more than five hours: HR, 2.38).

"Addressing sleep disturbance and deficiency may have a positive impact on risk for incident dementia and all-cause mortality among older adults," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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