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Sleep Duration & Dementia: An Early Marker of Cognitive Decline?

Sleep is, of course, incredibly important for our bodies. It allows our brain to consolidate thoughts into memories, and clean itself of toxins. Beyond that, numerous studies have pinpointed the adverse health impacts of not getting enough sleep.

What we now understand is that there truly is a sweet spot, in terms of getting the right amount of sleep for brain health. In fact, too much sleep can have just as significant harmful impacts on health as getting too little. Let’s look at this recent study, published in the journal Neurology.

  • Marion Spicher

    I took care of my mother for 3 years in my home. I noticed that when she seemed to have a gradual increase in forgetfulness, (short term memory loss) it would build over several days until she had a long, long sleep, and the next few days she was much better. I wondered at the time if the long sleep was necessary for the brain to clean up the mess? How on earth could you study something like that?

    I appreciate you more than you will ever know, Dr. Perlmutter. I so wish I could find a physician near Bellingham WA who believed the proof you have demonstrated regarding brain health, and soo much more.

    I am now caring for my husband who had a thalamic stroke, left sided ataxia, now walking after rehab, unassisted. I have been told by our doctor that medical care is tied to medicare and if the MD does not prescribe Statins, their overall reimbursement rate from Medicare is reduced, and he can’t afford that … said that if I chose to stop giving him statins on my own, he would have to reject him as a patient. His doctor refuses to allow even a 2 week holiday from the statins. I feel powerless.

    Four physicians have been a part of my family and their progeny and I respect doctors immensely, but would so much rather have our doctor be a partner in care. But his hands are tied also. It is no secret that medicare reimbursement rates are woeful. One just needs to look at the amount billed, compared to the amount allowed by medicare. It boggles the mind.

    Blog administrator, feel free to erase this response if it clogs up the blog! Smile.

    Marion Spicher
    mspicher@hotmail.com

    • David Perlmutter

      Have you tried this tool, from the IFM: https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/

      • Marion Spicher

        I looked up local Practitioners in my area for functional medicine. I believe it is the best way to go , but financially I can’t manage it right now. The first one I contacted wanted $300 for the first visit and said it would take one hour. It is my guess also that they would not accept Medicare, and if hey did, I would still have the statin mandate problem. My previous research suggested the first visit would take more time. It is difficult to chose without any references. Thanks for your response. I have your book, CD’s and have gone over the material many times. Thank you for all you are doing.

        • Allison Payte

          Marion, My husband’s solution to the statin Mandate is to take it for ~ 3 weeks before a blood draw & the he stops it. He only needs to do this 2 X year. I hate statins, & I’m not saying this is the way to go until you can find a naturopathic doctor of functional medicine practitioner. But, it may be worth considering as a last ditch, temporary way to deal w/ your current md. This way, he can write the script & that info is put in your husband’s file.

    • Marijo Martini

      Dr. Paul de Jong, ND is in Bellingham and would be an excellent, local physician that would work with both you and your husband. His office is at 414 Girard St. He works really hard for his patients to give them the best care.

      • David Perlmutter

        Thanks for stepping in with the recommendation Marijo.

      • Marion Spicher

        I looked up local Practitioners in my area for functional medicine. I believe it is the best way to go , but financially I can’t manage it right now. The first one I contacted wanted $300 for the first visit and said it would take one hour. It is my guess also that they would not accept Medicare. My previous research suggested the first visit would take more time. It is difficult to chose without any references. Thanks for your response. I have your book, CD’s and have gone over the material many times.

      • Marion Spicher

        Can you tell me what ND stands for? And do you know if he accepts Medicare Insurance, or if Medicare accepts him? My problem is that I am paying over $450 a month for AARP medigap insurance, and they won’t pay the deductibles, etc. unless Medicare approves. I can’t afford to be cared for on a continuous basis by someone who is not a medicare participant, and if they are, we still have the conundrum that Medicare would insist on giving my husband Statins. Thank you for you suggestion and response. I appreciate it.

        • Marilyn

          Naturopathic doctor and insurance doesn’t cover them.

  • Leonie Gittins

    I noticed that my late mother and father-in-law slept more and more during the day from when their ‘forgetfulness’ became noticeable. Later Mum was having two hour naps morning and afternoon so I mentioned it to her doctor. He explained that her damaged brain had to work much harder than previously, and it needed extra sleep to recover.

  • Rochelle

    Amazing information! I don’t sleep too much, actually 6 to 7 hours is my maximum, and not the usual. Thank you.

  • Marilyn

    Oh wow.. now this is depressing… and just what I needed to hear. I sleep lousy and have for years, so now I get to worry about early-onset dementia. Thanks…

  • FSinSF

    I thought the statement that people sleeping more than 9 hours are more likely to have dementia was a bit misleading. The excess sleep is not a cause of the dementia but more likely a sign that something else is wrong that may eventually contribute to brain decline. I know a lot of women who struggle with thyroid issues or chronic fatigue and sleep that much and perhaps they’ll have dimentia issues as they get older. I like understanding what they root cause is of the issue (and for the women I mentioned, there is probably something that is the root cause of their thyroid and/or fatigue issues, possibly involving brain function.)

  • arjatim

    Hi Dr David from 2 Canadians who are pretty much slaves to the guy from Naples that they have followed since Grain Brain and have got everything since!!… we were keto for months, then went to plant-based high carb LOW FAT (Chris Wark’s Square One). Feeling great, but after months a LOT less “smart”:… wrong word, why am I here with the fridge door open, what was my conversation about??… various other things you are very familiar with. SO, quickly brought oil back into our diets, lots of coconut oil, olive oil, would drink MCT oil out of the bottle when feeling “hungry” or even faint ALSO welcomed butter back into the food, starting all our sautes with butter. Two weeks later I (Tim, the husband–also the 86 year old geezer) found myself with the screaming meemies, completely dysfunctional, sobbing weeping in bed. You gotta know that a Mrine pilot with the screaming meemies is a scary sight for his wife who has never seen this in our 35+ years together. NOW THE POINT: today you remarked at 4:52 about keeping your blood sugar low, eating a low carb diet… My search for a cure for my screaming meemies has led me to a path that says that the HIGH SPIKES OF BLOOD SUGAR ARE MORE FREQUENT, HIGHER, “WORSE” WITH A LOW_CARB HIGH FAT (KETO) than with a HIGH CARB DIET!!!…. this is/weas a STARLING DISCOVERY for me, and I am presently using it to return to health. If the info is correct, I would think a heckuva lot of us would/will benefit from that info, becaiuse it throws a caution into Keto, Hyman’s new “Pegan”, diets…. what say you, Dr. Perlmutter??… any advice for your cummunity?? is this important??

  • Krikit

    Thank you, Dr. Perlmutter

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for watching!

  • Nathan Asper

    Reading the Neurology link, it doesn’t appear to indicate that too much sleep causes neurodegeneration, but rather that it is reflective of neurodegenerative changes occurring.

  • Aleta Antoinette

    If someone only sleeps 5 hours a night, but takes a 2 hour nap during the day is this considered to be 7 hours of sleep toward the recommended 6-9 hours of sleep a day for good brain health?

    • David Perlmutter

      It would not. You want to maintain that as consecutive hours sleep if possible.

  • Laislica

    Hi, I have a very enlarged prostate and I have to go to the bathroom up to 6 times a night.
    I am 5’10”, 160 pounds, aged 76, I eat fresh turmeric every day or use turmeric powder if fresh is not available.
    I eat raw garlic with my veggie stir fries and use coconut oil, no veggy oil, no sugar, no flour, no artificial sweeteners, I eat eggs, Coffee in the morning, no breakfast, veggie stir fry for lunch after noon.
    I spend a lot of time on the internet studying nutrition and watching series like Regain your Brain etc.
    How detrimental is my sleep patters and is there something I can do about it?
    Many thanks
    Dave Gregory
    laislica@yahoo.co.uk

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