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Deep sleep deficiency: Over-60s are more prone to get dementia.

Deep sleep deficiency

A lack of restorative deep sleep deficiency in the elderly increases their risk of developing dementia, according to a recent study.

Inadequate slow-wave sleep may increase the risk of dementia by 27% in individuals aged 60 and above, according to neuroscientist Matthew Pase of Monash University, for every 1% annual decline of deep sleep deficiency

Deep sleep deficiency

The third phase of a 90-minute sleep cycle, slow-wave sleep, fortifies the immune system, muscles, and bones through the deceleration of brain waves, pulse rate, and blood pressure.

According to Science Alert, Pase observed: “Slow-wave sleep, or deep sleep, supports the aging brain in many ways, and we know that sleep augments the clearance of metabolic waste from the brain, including facilitating the clearance of proteins that aggregate in Alzheimer’s disease.”

While the precise role of slow-wave sleep in the development of dementia is still unknown, he continued, “Our findings suggest that slow-wave sleep loss may be a modifiable risk factor for dementia.”

Scientists from the United States, Canada, and Australia assessed Framingham Heart Study data pertaining to 346 individuals. With an average five-year delay, two nocturnal sleep examinations were conducted on these individuals between 1995 and 1998 and 2001 and 2003. The study investigated sleep variables over time in a community-based sample consisting of individuals aged 60 and above in 2020 and those exempt from dementia from 2001 to 2003.

In addition to monitoring dementia until 2018, the researchers analyzed the outcomes of two polysomnography sleep investigations. Following age 60, slow-wave sleep decreased, crested between 75 and 80, and then stabilized. A correlation was identified between a 27% increase in the risk of developing dementia and each percentage point decrease in slow-wave sleep annually, as determined by comparing the first and second sleep records of participants. This risk increased by 32% when Alzheimer’s disease was considered.

Although these associations are apparent, the study fails to establish a causal relationship, necessitating additional research to comprehensively comprehend the relationship between slow-wave sleep loss and dementia. Slow-wave sleep may reduce the risk of dementia, according to the findings, which should inform sleep quality assessments for the elderly.

The Enduring Research on Sleep-Memory Link

A CBC article states that the correlation between slumber and memory has been the subject of research for generations. David Hartley, a philosopher, pondered dream-filled slumber and memory formation in the mid-17th century. Modern researchers began to corroborate this notion in the early 20th century by demonstrating how distinct stages of sleep affect memory formation. In 2009, neuroscientist Matthew Walker emphasized the significance of sleep for the consolidation of newly acquired information and long-term memory.

Research conducted over the past twenty years has shown that even a day and a half without sleep is sufficient to impair performance in memory games and cause a decrease in reaction times. A study involving American nurses unveiled a correlation between inadequate and excessive sleep durations—less than five hours or more than nine hours per night—and diminished cognitive performance on tests, indicating premature mental aging. Some studies compare the cognitive impairment caused by 0.10 percent blood alcohol after one day to sleep deprivation.

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labeled inadequate sleep a “public health epidemic,” particularly among the elderly, due to its association with cognitive decline and dementia.

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Strawberry May Help Fight Dementia

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) investigated the cognitive benefits of strawberry-infused supplement powder in a recent study. Thirty patients aged 50 to 65 with moderate cognitive decline participated in the study. In lieu of ingesting any berry fruits, participants were directed to add a packet of supplement powder to their water on a daily basis, of which half contained strawberries.

Metabolic data, cognitive evaluations, mood assessments, and indicators of depression were gathered. Those who consumed the strawberry-infused powder exhibited “reduced memory interference,” indicating enhanced executive control during memory tests, according to the findings. In addition, compared to the placebo group, this group demonstrated improved emotional control, diminished depressive symptoms, and enhanced problem-solving abilities, according to primary researcher Robert Krikorian from UC.

“Epidemiological evidence suggests that regular consumption of blueberries or strawberries is associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline with age,” the expert was quoted as saying by Fox News.


The negative impacts that a lack of deep sleep may have on both the physical and emotional well-being of an individual highlight the crucial significance of making quality sleep a priority. It is vital that, as we negotiate the pressures of modern life, we grasp that enough deep sleep is not only a luxury but rather a fundamental necessity for optimal functioning.

This realization is necessary because adequate deep sleep is necessary for optimal functioning. It is impossible to emphasize the significant benefits that deep sleep provides, which include improvements in cognitive performance, emotional resilience, and general health.

Therefore, maintaining an atmosphere that is conducive to restful sleep, adopting healthy behaviors to maintain proper sleep hygiene, and recognizing the necessity of restorative sleep are critical steps toward promoting a balanced and vigorous way of life. Acknowledging the importance of restorative sleep is not just a dedication to one’s own health and wellness, but also an acknowledgment of the transforming power of sleep in improving the overall quality of life.


What is deep sleep deficiency?

Deep sleep deficiency refers to a condition where an individual consistently experiences insufficient or poor-quality deep sleep, the stage of sleep crucial for physical and mental restoration.

What are the common symptoms of deep sleep deficiency?

Symptoms may include persistent fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, weakened immune function, and an increased susceptibility to stress.

What causes deep sleep deficiency?

Various factors contribute, such as lifestyle choices, sleep disorders, stress, and environmental factors. Sleep deprivation, irregular sleep patterns, and certain medical conditions can also play a role.

How much deep sleep do we need?

While individual needs vary, adults generally require about 15-30% of their total sleep time in deep sleep. This typically amounts to 1.5 to 2 hours of deep sleep per night.

Can technology affect deep sleep?

Yes, excessive screen time before bed, exposure to blue light, and the use of electronic devices can disrupt deep sleep by interfering with the natural circadian rhythm.

How can one improve deep sleep?

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, avoiding stimulants before bedtime, and practicing relaxation techniques can contribute to better deep sleep.

Is deep sleep deficiency linked to health problems?

Yes, chronic deep sleep deficiency has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular issues, obesity, diabetes, and mental health disorders.

Can dietary habits influence deep sleep?

Certain foods and drinks, such as caffeine and heavy meals close to bedtime, can interfere with deep sleep. Opting for a balanced diet and mindful eating may positively impact sleep quality.

Is it advisable to seek professional help for deep sleep issues?

If deep sleep deficiency persists despite adopting healthy sleep habits, consulting a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist is recommended to identify and address underlying issues.

Can age affect deep sleep?

Yes, deep sleep tends to decrease with age, but maintaining good sleep hygiene and a healthy lifestyle can mitigate its impact and promote better overall sleep quality.

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