"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Alzheimer's wake-up call

Can getting quality sleep help prevent disease?

Photo: © Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock

A great night's sleep does greater than rejuvenate you for the following day. It might help protect you from Alzheimer's disease. Research is starting to point out a link between poor sleep and the next risk of beta-amyloid protein plaque buildup within the brain, certainly one of the hallmarks of the disease.

Sweep out the amyloid

Any discussion of Alzheimer's often begins with amyloid proteins. They accumulate within the brain every day and are regarded as waste products from the energy utilized by brain cells when they convey.

Your brain clears excess amyloid protein during slow-wave sleep, the stage of deep sleep during which your memories are consolidated. In a typical eight-hour night, chances are you'll enter the slow wave phase during hours two, 4, six, and 7.

Some studies show that when your sleep is interrupted throughout the slow wave phase, amyloid proteins construct up and form plaques in brain tissue. Scientists consider that is the primary stage in the event of Alzheimer's, and it may well occur years before symptoms appear.

In fact, a study in May 30, 2017, JAMA Neurology It found that the quantity of amyloid plaque in an individual's brain could predict the speed of cognitive decline over the following 4 years.

An countless cycle

The relationship between poor sleep and amyloid plaques is usually a vicious circle. The more amyloid that builds up, the less deep sleep you get. And the less deep sleep you get, the less time your brain has to wash up excess amyloid.

It's also a classic chicken-and-egg scenario: Does poor sleep cause amyloid plaque, or does plaque buildup cause poor sleep? or each?

A 2015 study Nature Neuroscience used brain imaging on 26 older adults, ages 65 to 81, who had not been diagnosed with dementia and didn't report sleep problems. First, participants received PET scans to measure amyloid levels of their brains. Then they were asked to memorize 120 pairs of words and were tested on how well they remembered a component of them.

The people then slept for eight hours, during which era a machine measured their brain waves for sleep disturbances, specifically whether or not they woke up throughout the slow-wave phase. The next morning, their brains were scanned as they tried to recall the memory words.

Overall, the outcomes showed that folks with the very best levels of amyloid within the brain had the worst sleep quality and likewise performed worst on memory tests – with some people forgetting greater than half of the knowledge.

On the opposite hand, a 2014 study Alzheimer's and Dementia Looked at whether poor sleep could predict Alzheimer's. Researchers asked greater than 1,000 men to report on their sleep experiences over a 40-year period.

They found that those that reported sleep disturbances had a one and a half times higher risk of developing Alzheimer's later in life than those that didn't report sleep problems. Also, the later in life sleep problems develop, the upper the chance.

Do not rely an excessive amount of on sleeping pills.

Prescription sleeping pills or over-the-counter sleep aids may assist you to sleep through the occasional restless night, but see your doctor when you depend on them an excessive amount of. “Many of these medications are sedatives and don't promote natural sleep,” says Dr. Dickerson. “They help improve the amount of sleep, but not the quality, so if you rely on them for your regular sleep, you're giving your brain time to recover from the day's activities and consolidate memories at night. Not letting time work.”

Sleep on it

Does all this mean that improving poor sleep or practicing good sleep habits might help protect you from Alzheimer's? Probably. But it might also mean that quality sleep must be a part of a multifaceted effort to forestall Alzheimer's.

“Other research has provided strong evidence that aerobic exercise can also help lower a person's risk,” says Dr. Dickerson. “Exercise also helps with better sleep quality, so they can work together.” He adds that weight reduction might also play a job in reducing risk, as people who find themselves obese usually tend to have sleep problems.

Until more is understood, Dr. Dickerson suggests one of the best plan of action is to adopt higher sleep habits and never ignore sleep problems, resembling insomnia, sleep apnea, or nocturia (which might make you sleepy). wakes up to make use of the toilet).

“See your doctor for an evaluation,” he says. “Good, quality sleep is important for all aspects of your health – mental and physical.”

Tips for Better Sleep

Control the noise. A quiet bedroom is particularly essential for older adults, who spend less time in deep sleep, and are more easily woke up by noise. Here are some ways to cut back or mask annoying noise:

  • Decorate with heavy curtains and carpets, which absorb sounds.

  • Install dual-pane windows.

  • Use earplugs.

  • Use a fan or sleep machine, which provides recordings of “white noise” or soothing sounds, resembling rain, ocean waves, or chirping crickets.

Dim brilliant light. Bright light at night can inhibit your body's production of melatonin and make it harder to go to sleep. Keep your bedtime light intake low with these steps:

  • Avoid watching television or using the pc after 9 pm.

  • Do not read at night with a backlit electronic device resembling a Kindle or iPad.

  • Replace brilliant lights with low-wattage bulbs, or install dimmer switches that mean you can dim the lights at night. (Use night lights to assist get to the toilet if needed.)

Embrace the relief. A bedroom that is simply too hot or too cold can disrupt sleep. Most people sleep best in a rather cooler room (about 65°F). Also, replace a worn mattress and pillow.