A recent study from Yale University, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, suggests that deviations from the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night may be associated with increased biomarkers linked to a higher risk of dementia or stroke.
Researchers focused on white matter hypersensitivities, brain lesions observable on imaging, which are linked to an elevated risk of developing dementia or experiencing a stroke. The study involved 39,771 middle-aged participants, with data gathered from the UK Biobank, a repository of health and lifestyle information from British citizens.
The findings revealed that individuals who did not get enough sleep had more white matter hypersensitivities compared to those who received an optimal amount of sleep. Interestingly, individuals who slept more than the recommended duration also displayed higher levels of these lesions, which were denser and exhibited greater damage.
Santiago Clocchiatti-Touzzo, M.D., the study’s author and postdoctoral fellow at Yale, emphasized the importance of understanding sleep patterns to prevent long-term consequences like dementia and strokes. The research underscores the idea that sleep is a crucial aspect of brain health, and sleep duration may be a modifiable risk factor for brain health later in life.
The study suggests that middle-aged individuals should be mindful of their sleep habits to mitigate the development of brain lesions with potential adverse effects in the future.