Less REM Sleep is Linked to Greater Risk of Dementia

A recent study reveals that people who do not get enough REM sleep are at a higher risk of developing dementia. For this study, researchers selected 321 people with an average age of 67 from Massachusetts, USA, collected their sleep data and the participants were followed for 12 years. Study observation disclosed that 32 people were diagnosed with some form of dementia and amongst them, 24 were consistent to have Alzheimer’s disease. Every 1% reduction in REM sleep was resulting in 9% increase in the risk of dementia. Other stages of sleep were not linked with an increased dementia risk.

REM (Rapid eye Movement) is a part of our sleep cycle that takes up approximately 25% of a sleep cycle and is the restorative part of the sleep cycle. REM often associated with dreams and various physiological changes occur during REM sleep, along with the eye movements other changes like muscles get relaxed, heart rate and respiration rate get increased. The study concludes that in spite of contemporary interest in slow-wave sleep and dementia pathology, REM sleep mechanisms as predictors of clinical dementia.

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