The link between bedtime and dementia

Bedtime and dementia
29 September 2022

Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia, and close to half a million Australians are currently living with the condition. The disease is devastating not only to those experiencing dementia but also to their friends, families, and carers. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to over one million by 2058*. However, PhD student Tergel Namsrai is determined to make a difference to this statistic.

“Dementia is a condition with increasing prevalence, health and social-economic burden. It affects every stakeholder involved,” says Namsari.

Given there is currently no cure for dementia, identifying risk factors and risk reduction strategies is an important pathway to help reduce the prevalence and burden of the disease.

“Global scholars have been successful at identifying several modifiable risk factors. However, there is still more to do in the fight against dementia, and I am determined to do my share in preventing dementia,” says Namsari.

“My PhD project aims to investigate the contributions of sleep and physical activity to neurodegeneration and cognitive function. My hypothesis is that sleep quality, along with physical activity, could be an important factor in maintaining a healthy brain well into old age. Therefore, they could potentially be relevant in the prevention of dementia.”

Namsrai receives the prestigious Graeme Samuel Dementia Research Award to aid her PhD studies. This award has been generously supported by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation and co-funded by ANU, in honour of  Professor Graeme Samuel AC, former ANU Council member.

Graeme holds a key interest and expertise in dementia research and is Chair of Dementia Australia and the Dementia Australia Research Foundation.

“Research into early diagnosis, prevention and treatment and care is vital to provide hope and a better life for all of us – for we may become one of those persons who succumb to this disease,” says Samuel.

“ANU has a well-deserved reputation for encouraging early and mid-career researchers who are focussed on pursuing innovative avenues of research in an attempt to find that elusive path of effective prevention, treatment and care. This ethos is also the fundamental objective of Dementia Australia Research Foundation – to give our best and brightest scientists a fighting chance against dementia by providing funding to support innovative Australian research to find an end to dementia.”

*Dementia Australia (