Talking to your patients about sleep is a vital part of health care assessments. However, estimates indicate that more than half of health care professionals don’t routinely inquire about their patients’ sleep quality. Now, new research on snoring is driving home the importance of sleep quality and cautioning about the harm snoring causes the brain.
It has long been established that snoring decreases sleep quality and increases daytime grogginess. Now, according to researchers with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris-Cité, Paris, France, snoring can age the brain and hurt overall brain health. The study of older adults revealed that snoring and obstructed breathing, caused by sleep apnea, can be linked to increased risk for stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive decline. The damage was measured by examining white matter hyperintensities in study participants. Researchers found that for every 10 percent decrease in deep sleep, the white matter hyperintensities increased. The increase was equivalent to the brain aging 2.3 years.