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This Everyday Habit May Give You Dementia, Study Shows

It can increase your chances by more than 30 percent.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

For several decades experts have confirmed the link between sleep and various health conditions. According to the CDC, not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your health in a variety of ways, increasing your chances of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Now, a recent study published in the medical journal Nature Communications has established a link between a sleep habit and your risk of dementia. Read on to learn about the new study—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.

You're 30% More Likely to Develop Dementia if This Sounds Like You

According to the new research which followed almost 8,000 people over a period of 25 years, starting from the age of 50, those who slept less than six hours or less a night are 30 percent more likely to develop dementia later on in life, in their 70s. 

"Persistent short sleep duration at age 50, 60, and 70 compared to persistent normal sleep duration was also associated with a 30% increased dementia risk independently of sociodemographic, behavioural, cardiometabolic, and mental health factors," the study concluded. "These findings suggest that short sleep duration in midlife is associated with an increased risk of late-onset dementia."

Researchers did note that in contrast to some previous studies, they did not find strong evidence to support the hypothesis that long sleep duration—over nine hours—is associated with dementia. 

The researchers hope their findings will motivate public health providers to promote healthy sleep habits. "To encourage good sleep hygiene may be particularly important for people at a higher risk of dementia," they wrote. 

"The study found a modest, but I would say somewhat important association of short sleep and dementia risk," said Pamela Lutsey, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the research, told the New York Times. "Short sleep is very common and because of that, even if it's modestly associated with dementia risk, it can be important at a societal level. Short sleep is something that we have control over, something that you can change."

RELATED: Sure Signs You May Have Dementia, According to the CDC

Stay Safe Out There

In addition to getting enough sleep, keep following Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.