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.
What is Alzheimer’s
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.
How to Spot it Early
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:
You Stay Up All Night
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.
Take Care of 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.
You Take Sleeping Medication
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 Enjoy Naps
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.
Entrust of DeSoto: A Resident-centric Memory Care Community in Dallas, Texas
Entrust of DeSoto is a memory care community that puts resident well-being at the center of everything we do. We know that each person is unique. That’s why we offer a wide range of services and lifestyle options to nourish the body and create community.
We understand the importance of home cooked meals and nutrition for seniors and this attitude is reflected in our dining experience. If you or a loved one live near Dallas, Texas and need assisted living, contact Entrust of DeSoto today to learn about our 24-hour care and find out how we can help.