Food and Behaviour Research

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28 October 2014 - DG News - Sleep Disturbances Linked to Higher Risk for Alzheimer's Disease in Men

Elderly men with self-reported sleep disturbances run a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than men without self-reported sleep disturbances.

The researchers followed more than 1,000 men, who were initially aged 50 years between the years 1970 and 2010.

The results showed that self-reported sleep disturbances were linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease during the 40-year follow-up period, particularly if they occurred late in life.

The data suggest that a regular good night's sleep could support brain health in men.

“We demonstrate that men with self-reported sleep disturbances run a 1.5-fold higher risk to develop Alzheimer's disease than those without reports of sleep disturbances during a 40-year follow-up period,” said Christian Benedict, MD, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

“The later the self-reported sleep disturbance was found the higher the risk was for developing Alzheimer's disease. These findings suggest that strategies aimed at improving sleep quality in late life may help reduce the risk to develop Alzheimer's disease.”

“Importantly, there are several lifestyle factors, such as exercise, that can influence your brain's health,” added Dr. Benedict. “Thus, it must be borne in mind that a multifaceted lifestyle approach comprising good sleep habits is essential for maintaining brain health as you age.”