caregiver sleep

Quality, Not Length, is What Matters When It Comes to Sleep Interview with:

Ying-Hui Fu, PhD Professor, Neurology Weill Institute for Neurosciences UCSF

Dr. Ying-Hui Fu

Ying-Hui Fu, PhD
Professor, Neurology
Weill Institute for Neurosciences
UCSF  What is the background for this study? 

Response: Most people are aware that a lack of sleep is associated with all sorts of health issues. However, familial natural short sleeper (FNSS) individuals sleep 4-6.5 hours a night most of their live and stay healthy. We set out to determine whether natural short sleep mutations can offer protection from various diseases. We chose Alzheimer as an example to start.  What are the main findings?

Response: We used the familial natural short sleep mutation mice to show that these mutations can significantly protect mice (and likely humans) from Alzheimer’s pathology. Does everyone need the same amount of sleep?  

Response: No. Everyone needs to find out what is the best amount of sleep he/she need What should readers take away from your report?  

Response: My research shows that it is not just “the hours” but more about “the quality” of sleep that we really need to pay attention to. With Alzheimer’s as an example, our results showed that good sleep quality can significantly reduce the chances of getting diseases. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The research on various neurodegenerative diseases is important for helping those who have these conditions. However, it will be for the best interest of people if we also work on figuring out how to use good sleep to help people stay healthy longer. The example I like to use is that instead of trying to live to 100 years old but spend 30 years or more in fighting against diseases, we should aim for living to 100 years old and stay healthy for 90 or more years. I think this is what “healthy longevity” should mean. Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: Our body works hard at helping us remain healthy while we sleep by performing various tasks. When we don’t have good sleep (quantity and quality) on long term basis, our body cannot perform its functions to its best thus causes all kinds of problems including AD. It is critically important that we pay close attention to our sleep.

No disclosures


Qing Dong, Nicholas W. Gentry, Thomas McMahon, Maya Yamazaki, Lorena Benitez-Rivera, Tammy Wang, Li Gan, Louis Ptáček, Ying-Hui Fu. Familial natural short sleep mutations reduce Alzheimer pathology in mice. iScience, 2022; 103964 DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.103964

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Last Updated on March 20, 2022 by Marie Benz MD FAAD