Lack of Sleep in Middle Age Increases Dementia Risk

Written by Antonio DeRose

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for many health factors. Having the right amount of quality sleep is associated with several positive physical and mental health benefits. Recent research has identified a correlation between lack of sleep during middle age with an increase in dementia risk over time, making quality sleep seem to be even more important for those in their 50’s and 60’s.

Dysfunctional sleep patterns have long been a symptom of those diagnosed with dementia, but until now, there hasn’t been much research regarding whether or not irregular sleep habits at younger ages contribute to being diagnosed with dementia later in life. Almost 8,000 participants, ranging in age between 50 and 80, were studied and analyzed over 25 years. Although many factors were taken into consideration, the primary focus was on the total number of hours each participant slept each night.

After ruling out other known contributing factors for dementia, including sociodemographic, behavioral, cardiometabolic, and mental health data points, the total number of hours of sleep each participant got nightly seemed to have the most impact on future dementia diagnosis. Throughout the entire study, a total of 521 cases of dementia were diagnosed. Those who consistently slept six hours or less during their 50’s and 60’s increased their risk for dementia by 30% when compared to those who sleep for at least 7 hours every night.

This research may be new, but it only reiterates another major reason why sleep is so important for your overall health and longevity. Knowing that getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a consistent basis during your 50’s and 60’s can increase your risk for dementia, is a great reason to start paying closer attention to how much you sleep. If you’re concerned about not getting enough sleep, creating a healthy bedtime routine is one effective way to fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer, helping you avoid the risk of dementia and other negative health issues associated with sleeping too little.



  1. Sabia, S., et al., Association of sleep duration in middle and old age with incidence of dementia. nature communications. 2021. 12 – 2289. Times Cited: 0 Journal Impact Factor: 12.121

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Antonio DeRose

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