The better or worse your sleeping habits are could be increasing or decreasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t let bad bedtime habits put you at risk for this disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gradually worsens over time, causing 60–70% of cases of dementia. Currently, 5.8 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s. Researchers are working proactively to find the connection between sleep and Alzheimer’s because by 2050 the number of people with it could rise to 14 million.
What to Look Out For
Alzheimer’s starts to make changes in the brain slowly and silently, usually two decades before any symptoms start to show. Substances in the brain, such as amyloid beta proteins, collect into plaques and tangles causing the disease to progress and key areas of the brain to shrink. Having healthy sleep patterns is important because poor sleep can accelerate Alzheimer’s. Find out which habits to start avoiding:
Manage Your Sleep Apnea
A bed partner that is constantly snoring could mean that they have sleep apnea. This is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing intermittently throughout the night. A study was conducted by the American Academy of Neurology, suggesting that people with sleep apnea have higher levels of tau in the area of the brain that aids memory.
288 people took part in the study, ages 65 and older, showing that those who had sleep apnea had 4.5 percent higher levels of tau in the brain compared to those who didn’t’ have sleep apnea. If you question whether or not you have sleep apnea see a doctor. It causes not enough oxygen to get to the brain, increasing the risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Taking naps during the day can disrupt your sleep cycle at night, increasing your risk of Alzheimer’s. A disrupted sleep-wake cycle can cause your circadian rhythm to go out of sync. People who have early signs of Alzheimer’s all had disrupted sleep-wake cycles.
Monitor Your Sleeping Medicine
If people have trouble with falling asleep night after night they might be inclined to get medicine from their doctor for help. Although, certain sleeping aids can do more harm than good when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.
Using sleeping drugs, such as benzodiazepines, for a long amount of time can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If signs of Alzheimer’s are already showing serious sleep issues can develop, but the use of sedatives can be a risk because of the increased chance of falls and confusion.
You Pull All-Nighters
In a study done by Science Magazine, eight volunteers got a full night’s sleep then stayed awake for 36 hours. After one night of not getting sleep the participants showed a 51.5 percent increase in the brain protein tau. This protein has been linked to alzheimer’s, showing up in parts of the brain associated with memory. In another experiment done with mice, the sleep-deprived ones had twice the amount of tau as well-rested mice.
Fairmont Grand Senior Living Community
Fairmont Grand is a resident centered senior living and memory care facility in Rapid City, SD. Our goal is to create an environment where resident well-being is at the heart of everything we do.
Our wide range of services are designed to meet you or your loved one’s daily needs. We offer restaurant style dining options, a variety of physical activities, and give residents the opportunity to live as independently as possible.