New Study Finds Sleep Deprivation Could Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s

Sleep problems alzheimersMultiple health benefits have been linked with a good night’s sleep, and now a recent study confirms it may also help prevent Alzheimer’s. Researchers at Temple University’s School of Medicine believe chronic sleep disturbances caused by insomnia, health conditions, work patterns, etc. could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia in older adults.

In order to examine the link between sleep disturbances and dementia, researchers evaluated two groups of mice over an eight-week period. The ages of the mice were equivalent to the human age of 40. One group of mice maintained an adequate sleep schedule while the other group received increased light hours and reduced sleep time.

Although immediate differences between the two groups of mice were not initially evident, after testing the sleep-deprived mice for memory, researchers found that the group demonstrated significant impairment in their learning ability and their working and retention memory.

Upon further investigation, researchers identified increased “tangles” in the brain cells of the sleep-deprived mice, which can ultimately lead to serious brain impairment due to the disruption of signals between cells.

“This disruption will eventually impair the brain’s ability for learning, forming new memory and other cognitive functions, and contributes to Alzheimer’s disease,” said researcher Domenico Praticὸ in a release.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep deprivation is a serious health concern that affects between 50 and 70 million adults nationally. Inadequate sleep can dramatically affect one’s daily life by impeding one’s concentration, memory and focus. In fact, studies have shown that sleep deprivation can actually increase the risk of premature death in older men.

Unfortunately, as we age our sleep quality often declines due to general aches and pains, sleep disorders and certain medications. But, there are things you can do to help improve your quality of sleep. Make sure to keep your room cool and dark, exercise regularly, limit caffeine and alcohol and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.