Lack Of Sleep Linked To Higher Risk Of Alzheimer's

Jul 12, 2017, 00:10
Lack Of Sleep Linked To Higher Risk Of Alzheimer's

"Getting a good night's sleep is important for a range of different health reasons". "I think that may lead to chronically elevated amyloid levels, which animal studies have shown lead to increased risk of amyloid plaques and Alzheimer's".

But over the long term, bad nights' sleep can increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and a new study points to why. "More research is needed to further define the relationship between sleep and these biomarkers".

Scientists then took a look at their spinal fluid. The participants all had some increased risk for Alzheimer's due to their family history and genetic factors, but all were cognitively healthy.

"The main concern is people who have chronic sleep problems", Ju said. That's a small sample, but enough to show a biological effect.

Now researchers say that poor sleep quality, and disruption of the deep, restful sleep known as slow-wave sleep, both play a key role. But, she noted, not all participants showed a response to the sleep disruption - a result Ju says is down to them having little slow wave sleep in the first place. On one night, when they drifted into deep (known as slow-wave) sleep, the headphones played a tone at increasing volume until they reverted to lighter sleep. The morning after each session, researchers collected cerebrospinal fluid using a spinal tap. Tau levels didn't budge because of just one night of slow-wave sleep disruption, but people whose activity monitors indicated they had slept poorly the week before the test also had higher levels of that protein. "The worse your sleep quality, the more your tau increased", said Ju. That caused levels of proteins called amyloid to rise in their spinal fluid.

Prolonged periods of poor sleep could increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, although quality, not quantity, is at the root of the issue, research has revealed.

Regardless of the mechanisms and levels of risk, the authors of both studies write that improving sleep should be considered a priority.

However, only half of them were given a sound night's sleep.

Bendlin did note that, "It's still unclear if sleep may affect the development of the disease or if the disease affects the quality of sleep".

That should be some serious motivation to try to get more sleep.