Sleeping for Less than 6 Hours can Permanently Damage Your Brain

permanent brain damage
Image by JayMantri from Pixabay

People who are in their middle ages and suffering from sleeplessness or sleeping for lesser than six hours per night are often at high risk of permanent brain damage. The new study conducted by a research team from Penn State College of Medicine investigates the importance of peaceful sleep in middle to old age people revealing a high chance of dementia and other related conditions.

Insomnia is an extremely common sleep-related disease in which a person finds hard to sleep. If this sleeplessness shows up for at least three nights per week for a couple of months, it is a sign of an underlying disorder that requires medical attention.

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Researchers believe that insomniac people are twice more likely to experience permanent brain damage as compared to people who enjoy peaceful hours of sleep. The complete study findings are now published in the journal Sleep.

Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, from the Penn State Health Sleep Research and Treatment Center, explains that almost 25% of adults experience sleep-related difficulties and 10% of them end up having insomnia. According to him, identifying people who may be at a high risk of this permanent brain damage is necessary so that it can be prevented before it’s too late.

This study focuses on developing an objective approach to helping everyone who is experiencing sleeping troubles. Some previous researches on insomnia patients showed their increased likelihood of cardiometabolic conditions for example high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart failure, stroke, and even mental health conditions.

But this new study reveals that these patients are also on the verge of permanent brain damage which is also a warning sign of dementia in later years of life. This study reviewed data obtained from Penn State Adult Cohort on nearly 1,741 participants on the basis of their sleeping habits. The medical history and all previous records were obtained and the sleeping difficulties were identified using a self-reporting of daily sleeping habits. Later on, their cognitive risks were evaluated in the lab using approaches like a memory test, language test, attention span, etc, and compared with sleeping habits.

Those who have self-reported them for sleeping lesser than six hours were at double risk of brain damage and impairment as compared to people who sleep for more than six hours a day. These participants also reported a co-existing condition of cardiometabolic diseases which may explain the cognitive impairment caused by sleeping difficulties.

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Those participants which were sleeping more than six hours per day were not at any risk of any brain damage. The research team also studied underlying sociodemographic differences in terms of age, education, income, age, ethnicity, etc. The existing mental and physical diseases especially those linked with sleep were also checked.

The only good thing about these results is that they don’t indicate a fatal risk. Whatever the damage is, it can not take a person’s life which is a relief because brain damage may sound extremely scary. However, it can drastically affect the quality of life for a person; all for not being able to sleep properly. Lastly, the researchers urge people to pay attention to their sleeping routines; take out time for rest, and get timely treatment if they suspect having a disease.




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