Early Trends: Healthy Aging Brain Program Research Study

As part of Sleep awareness week, it's fitting that the first Healthy Aging Brain Research update is about sleep and dementia.


One of the early trends seen so far in the Healthy Aging Brain Program Research Study is that over 50% of the participants noted a pattern of sleep disturbance using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and other self report sleep details, which also may warrant a more detailed sleep analysis.This matches statistics that around the world, up to 45% of people are sleep deprived.


According to the US National Sleep Foundation, good sleep quality can be considered:
1. Falling asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed
2. Waking no more than one time in the night
3. No more than 20 minutes away during the night
4. Spending at least 85% of your time in bed asleep


If this pattern does not reflect your sleep routine it is time to make some changes to help reduce your risk of dementia, as well as a host of other health issues.

  • Studies have shown that sleeping less than 5 hours can increase the risk of dementia twofold versus those who sleep 6 to 8 hours in those over 65 years of age.
  • Sleeping 6 hours or less at age 50, 60, or 70 is associated with the 30% increased risk compared to those who normally sleep 7 hours.
  • Shift work can also affect sleep, and for those who are awake at least 2 hours between midnight and 4:00 a.m. they exist in a world as if they do shift work. Shift work affects sleep quality and the normal circadian rhythm. There has been a noted increased risk for dementia in shift workers later in life.
  • Sleeping more than 9 hours per night also showed a two times greater risk of dementia versus those who slept 6 to 9 hours.
  • Sleep apnea is considered a risk factor for dementia. People with sleep apnea have been shown not only to have impaired memory and executive function, but also biomarker changes that are associated with dementia.

As a society we have become accustomed to reduced sleep, but the problem as many studies have shown, is reduced sleep is linked to a reduced cognitive ability. In fact, since almost half of the population may suffer from some form of sleep disturbance, how many are also engaging in their daily routine at a reduced Cognitive ability?

Do these reduced cognitive levels potentially affect our cognitive reserves making us more susceptible to dementia later in life?

If you would like to better understand your own personal risk factors for dementia, why not consider taking part in the Honsberger Physio+ Healthy Aging Brain Research Study and apply to the study using this link: https://lnkd.in/gaSEb5Xp

Written by: Efan Gonsalves, PT, AT (retired) Clinical Director- Markham 

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
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