Can Poor Sleep Contribute to Alzheimer's Risk?

Can Poor Sleep Contribute to Alzheimer's Risk?

Sleep deprivation is a public health epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A lack of sleep can affect daily functioning, overall mental health, and long term wellbeing. Sleep deprivation may also contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

How Can a Lack of Sleep Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

Sleep is crucial for our health, both physical and cognitive. It is just as important as diet and exercise when it comes to living a healthy life. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to a number of problems, including:

  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Type II diabetes
  • Weight gain

A recent study indicates an even more concerning trend: the link between Alzheimer’s disease and sleep deficiency. The study found that the “glymphatic system,” a waste-draining system, is ten times more active during sleep then while awake. The nocturnal cleaning removes proteins called amyloid-beta. These proteins, if not removed, can accumulate into the plaques that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Imaging technology used by the researchers discovered that cerebrospinal fluid flows through the spaces between the neurons, flushing away proteins and other neural waste into the circulatory system. The circulatory system will then filter it through the liver and kidneys to be eliminated from the body.

Using Natural Sleep Patterns to Prevent Sleeplessness

If you find you are unable to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep, you may not be that unusual. More than 50 million Americans have trouble getting enough sleep, and there may be an easy fix. Historians have been studying ancient sleeping patterns and have discovered that the common idea of “8 hours of uninterrupted sleep” is a fairly modern belief. In centuries past, before electricity and smart devices were available to keep us awake, humans often went to sleep when the sun set, which would give them a period of nearly 12 hours of restful time. Earlier humans didn’t simply sleep the entire 12 hours, but woke up several times during the night, before returning to sleep a few hours later. Breaking up sleep may help those who suffer from a lack of sleep or difficulty staying asleep.

Here are some ways to fit the sleep you need into your schedule:

  • Break up sleeping time into chunks. When you wake up during the night, enjoy a quiet activity until you are ready to fall back asleep.
  • Take naps throughout the day.
  • Go to bed earlier to give your body’s natural sleep pattern time to work before you need to get up in the morning.

The quantity of sleep that you get is not nearly as important as the quality. When you have restful sleep, your body has a chance to heal itself and recharge. Finding the natural rhythm of your body can greatly contribute to the quality of sleep you get each night.

Speak to Our Forth Worth Doctors

Your sleep is important for your health, but struggling to feel rested can take a toll on you. Our Fort Worth doctors can answer your questions and get your on the road to a more restful night. At Primary Care Associates of Texas, your health and the health of your family is our foremost concern, so you can trust that we will provide you with care to support your wellbeing.

Speak to a representative today! Contact our team to learn how we can help you.

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