New study shows sleeping too little in your 50s and 60s puts you at risk for dementia

ABC News’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton shares her recommendations for getting quality sleep each night.
2:44 | 04/21/21

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Transcript for New study shows sleeping too little in your 50s and 60s puts you at risk for dementia
cold air come in behind it. Now to a new study on sleep and dementia. Highlighting the importance of getting plenty of shut-eye later in life and how too little can affect your risk for dementia. Dr. Jen Ashton is here to break it down for us. Dr. Jen, a lot of people really listening to this one. Tell us about this study and what it found? Yeah, so, Amy, we know people with dementia can have disrupted sleep. This was about the question whether disrupted or inadequate sleep can then lead to dementia. So researchers in Europe, they looked at about 8,000 people. They followed them over about 30 years and they found that the lowest rates of dementia occurred in people who slept on average about seven hours a night, however, if you slept less than six hours a night, those people had a 30% higher associated rate so it's all about here the association and the observation, but according to this study quantity really matters. Well, and 30%. That is a significant percentage. What about sleep recommendations for each age group? Because it varies, correct? It absolutely vary, it's not one size fits all and said before sleep has a pr problem in this country. We think of it as a luxury, it's really a medical necessity so take a look at the recommendations, these are from the CDC. We need more than we think. If you're a school aged child, 9 to 12 hours, teenagers, 8 to 10 and adults at minimum 7 and, Amy, here's the thing that's really important, you can't make up for this on the weekend so it really has to be every single night. Wow. That is a bummer. Okay. Researchers talk about short sleep in this study contributing to mental decline. What do we know about that. Well, what we do know is you need to control the controllables so quality does matter as well. But you can take some steps. We call them sleep hygiene to really lock down your sleep. Give yourself the best chance of getting a good night's sleep and those include things like keeping a good routine. We call this kind of your sleep hygiene. Make your bedroom cold, dark and quiet. Remove anything with a screen, get exercise and definitely avoid anything that we know to be a sleep disrupter, caffeine, large meals and alcohol before bed. Get rid of it. Exactly and that bedtime reminder has really helped me. Oh, yeah. Jen, thank you. Robin. You bet. I made it about a year ago a priority to get more sleep. It has made a tremendous, tremendous difference. My kids always make fun of me. I'm going to bed. It's 7:30. I'm going to bed. What time do you get up, right? Yeah, exactly. Glad we had Dr. Jen clear it all up for us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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