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Dreamers are 'less at risk' of dementia

People who dream a lot while sleeping are less likely to develop dementia, a new study suggests.A twelve-year investigation by US scientists found that rapid eye movement (REM) in humans was closely associated with risk of the incurable neurological disease.Data showed that for every one per cent reduction in the amount of sleeping time spent in REM, a person’s chances of developing dementia increased by 9 per cent.Our findings implicate REM sleep mechanisms as predictors of dementiaDr Matthew Pase,

Boston University Medical SchoolREM is the stage in sleep where dreaming occurs and there is increased brain activity, higher body temperature, faster breathing and a quicker pulse.Dementia has already been linked to sleep disturbance, however researchers do not know which causes which.A team at Boston University School of Medicine studied the sleep patterns of 321 participants over the age of 60.They were then followed for an average of 12 years to determine their risk of developing dementia."Different stages of sleep may differentially affect key features of Alzheimer's disease,” said Dr Matthew Pase.“Our findings implicate REM sleep mechanisms as predictors of dementia."

Earlier this year, Pase and his colleagues found that people who consistently sleep more than nine hours each night had double the risk of developing dementia in 10 years compared to participants who slept for nine hours or less.According to the Alzheimer’s Society, people over the age of 65 have a one in 14 chance of developing the disease.The new research was published in Neurology.

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