Are you someone who experiences vivid dreams fairly regularly? If so, new research has found there's an upside.
A recent study conducted by Boston University School of Medicine discovered that people who dream a lot when sleeping are less likely to develop dementia.
The results, published in Neurology, suggest that for every 1 percent reduction in a person's REM – that's "rapid eye movement" a phase of sleep where brain activity is higher and there is a natural tendency towards dreaming — the person has 9 percent more chance of developing dementia and an 8 percent greater chance of developing Alzheimer's. This suggests that those who dream are less likely to develop either.
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The study entailed examining the sleeping patterns of 321 people over the age of 60, before following them for the next 12 years.
"Different stages of sleep may differentially affect key features of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Matthew Pase, who lead the research. "Our findings implicate REM sleep mechanisms as predictors of dementia."
What is dementia?
Dementia is a syndrome which occurs as a result of brain decline and a decrease in the brain's abilities. Symptoms can include memory loss, difficulty controlling emotions, disorientation with surroundings and finding the organization of tasks and activities problematic. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, and it affects one in 14 people over 65.
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