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Dear Patient and Friend,

A new study shows that how long you sleep plays a role in the health of your brain, including the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sleep scientists agree that it is common for older people to sleep less soundly and for a shorter time than younger people. This often contributes to memory loss and attention span, reduced thinking power, poorer problem-solving, and even less efficient decision-making.

The researchers found that those who reported sleeping less than six hours each night had chemical changes in their brain that could be related to dementia. In addition, those who slept less did worse on cognitive tests than those of similar age who slept over six hours nightly.

They concluded that choosing the right amount of sleep each night is likely to improve your brain function. Conversely, those who didn’t sleep enough were more likely to be overweight and depressed. Interestingly, those who slept too much had similar patterns, so your best chance at a healthy brain revolves around finding your “sweet spot” – the amount of sleep your brain and body prefer.

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