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Bad Sleep Linked to Alzheimer's in Men

Update Date: Oct 28, 2014 03:30 PM EDT

Bad quality can predict the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in older men, according to a new study.

Swedish researchers from Uppsala University found that elderly men with self-reported sleep disturbances were significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those without self-reported sleep disturbances.

The latest study involved more than 1,000 men who were followed from 1970 to 2010. All participants were 50 years old at the start of study.

The study revealed that self-reported sleep disturbances were linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease during the 40-year follow-up period. This is especially true when self-reported sleep disturbances occurred late in life, suggesting that quality 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. 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," lead researcher Christian Benedict, sleep researcher at Uppsala University, said in a news release.

"Importantly, there are several lifestyle factors, such as exercise, that can influence your brain's health. 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," Benedict concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

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