Sleeping during the day could be linked to increased risk of dementia, expert warns

By Staff 6 Min Read

Dr Sudhir Kumar, a neurologist from India, has warned that daytime sleep is ‘lighter’ and ‘fails to fulfil the homeostatic function of sleep’. This could lead to a number of health problems

A leading sleep expert has warned that daytime sleeping could increase the risk of dementia and other health conditions.

Dr Sudhir Kumar, a neurologist from India, has raised concerns based on research suggesting that those who work night shifts are at a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions. In an article on X, he stated: “Daytime sleep is lighter, since it is not aligned with the circadian clock, and hence fails to fulfill the homeostatic function of sleep.”

He added that this fact is supported by numerous studies of night shift workers, who as a group are predisposed to stress, obesity, cognitive deficits, and an elevated risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr Kumar highlighted that health issues are particularly prevalent in night shift workers who are more prone to stress, obesity, cognitive deficits and a heightened risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. He explained the workings of the glymphatic system, which plays a crucial role in maintaining brain health by removing protein waste.

The doctor cautioned that if this system doesn’t function properly, there’s a build-up of harmful proteins that can lead to neurodegenerative diseases, reports the Express.

Dr Kumar said: “Factors that suppress or result in failure of glymphatic system increase the risk of dementia. These include: aging, poor sleep quality, sedentary lifestyle, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, sleep apnea, circadian misalignment, substance abuse, depression. Good sleepers live longer, weigh less, have a reduced incidence of psychiatric disorders, and remain cognitively intact longer.”

Dr Kumar concluded by saying: “Habitually sleeping well at nights could result in better cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia and psychiatric disorders.” On a related note, research from the National Institute of Health reveals that individuals who recorded six hours or less sleep per night during their 50s and 60s are prone to develop dementia later in life.

Interestingly, a 2023 study showcased that even a modest one percent deduction in deep sleep annually for those over 60 years of age can culminate into an amplified 27 percent risk of developing dementia.

The National Institute of Health clarifies on its website: “Studies have suggested that sleep patterns earlier in life may contribute to later dementia risk,” adding, “Both insufficient sleep and sleeping longer than average have been linked to a greater likelihood of developing dementia.”

They conclude, however, that the correlation is still uncertain: “However, it has been hard to determine whether these sleep changes contribute to the disease or simply reflect early symptoms.”

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