If you are sleeping for six hours or less repeatedly in your 50s and 60s then chances are you are more likely to develop dementia than those who manage seven hours of sleep, says a study.

According to researchers, people who have a consistent short night’s sleep in their middle ages are at a 30% greater risk of dementia. These numbers are not going to change, regardless of risk factors like heart condition, poor metabolism, and mental health issues.

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Scientists believe that having a consistently poor sleep cycle may be a huge contributor to the neurodegenerative disease. However, the study does not prove that sleeping too little causes dementia as sleep loss is one of the symptoms of the disease. 

Dr Séverine Sabia, one of the authors of the study at the University of Paris says “These findings suggest that sleep duration might be a risk factor for dementia in later life. I cannot tell you that sleep duration is a cause of dementia but it may contribute to its development.”. 

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The study is based on survey data collected by the University College London’s Whitehall II study. The study was launched in 1985 and it followed the health of 10,000 volunteers. Nearly 8,000 participants self-reported their sleep patterns and some wore watch-like devices to further help in confirming how long they slept. 

Over the span of 25 years, 521 volunteers developed dementia in their late 70s. The scientists later declared that those who sleep for six hours or less every night in their 50s are 30% more prone to develop dementia. 

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It is estimated that one in 14 over 60 years of age and one in six people aged over 80s are affected with dementia. Lifestyle also has a major impact on the chances of developing the diseases. Smoking, heavy drinking and obesity also put people at high risk for developing dementia.