Science has shown that it causes heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer … and now new research shows poor sleep can lead to Alzheimer’s, too!” Specifically poor deep sleep.
Deposits of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Using brain imaging and other diagnostic tools, researchers evaluated 26 cognitively normal older adults to see if there was a link between sleep, memory and beta-amyloid protein accumulation.
Indeed, those who had disrupted sleep patterns had higher amounts of beta-amyloid buildup and worse scores on memory tests. According to the study’s senior author, UC Berkeley neuroscience professor Matthew Walker.
The “clearing out” of bad protein that Walker is referring to takes place during sleep.
Previous research has shown that, during sleep, your brain’s waste-removal system – the glymphatic system – is ramped up. It literally flushes waste from your brain using cerebral spinal fluid, including waste such as the “bad” proteins linked to Alzheimer’s
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Poor Sleep Contributes to Chronic Disease
Staying up late to “burn the midnight oil” is often viewed as a sign of hard work and determination … but though you may be able to fight off the sandman your body won’t be fooled.
There is no substitute for high-quality sleep, and enough of it, plain and simple. While an estimated 50-70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorders that contribute to poor sleep, many others lack sleep simply because they stay up too late – working, watching tv, surfing the Web, etc.
If you need more convincing to move your bedtime up an hour (or even 30 minutes), consider this: getting more sleep (especially if you average six hours or less a night) can lower your risk of chronic diseases and health conditions.
Sleeping fewer than six hours a night may quadruple your risk of stroke.
Cutting back on sleep increases insulin resistance in your fat cells, even if you watch your diet.
Sleep deprivation in older adults is associated with brain degeneration and memory loss.
Long-term sleep deprivation may lead to changes in bone mineral density that contribute to osteoporosis (although this was an animal study, the researchers suspect similar may occur in humans).
Sleeping fewer than six hours a night has been linked to both colorectal and breast cancers.
Those who sleep six hours or less a night have a 48 percent increased risk of heart disease.
Sleeping for less than six hours may increase your risk of dying from any cause by four-fold.
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