Poor sleep patterns linked to mental issues

July 16, 2012 3:02:47 PM PDT
Experts say evidence is mounting that poor sleep patterns may do more than make you cranky; there could be a link to mental deterioration and Alzheimer's disease.

Four new studies suggested this idea and presented the findings at the Alzheimer's Association meeting. Too little, or too much, sleep was equated with two years of brain aging in one study.

Another study found that people with sleep apnea were more than twice as likely to develop mild thinking problems or dementia.

Researchers working on another study reported that excessive daytime sleepiness may predict diminished memory and thinking skills in older people.

Experts say the studies pave the way for sleep interventions that could stave off mental deterioration.