Lack Of Sleep Linked To Higher Risk Of Alzheimer's

12 July, 2017, 00:07 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Not all forms of sleep problems may be a sign of Alzheimer’s

But in another session, a tone would wake them and prevent them from entering a slow-wave sleep stage. This is the toxic protein forming plaque in the brains of those with Alzheimer's.

Now researchers say that poor sleep quality, and disruption of the deep, restful sleep known as slow-wave sleep, both play a key role.

Sleep helps to cleanse neurotoxins from the brain - the type that can lead to dementia or Alzheimer's. For example, there was no link between biological markers in the spinal fluid and obstructive sleep apnea.

Researchers found that people who reported worse sleep quality, more sleep problems, and daytime sleepiness had more biological markers for Alzheimer's disease in their spinal fluid than people who did not have sleep problems. "But we could see, when the participants had several bad nights in a row at home, that their tau levels had risen".

It was found that after one night of interrupted sleep amyloid beta levels were up 10 per cent.

Not getting enough sleep doesn't feel good - and could have some scary long-term consequences.


New research has found sleep problems in healthy individuals could indicate that they may go on to develop Alzheimer's later in life. "I do think chronic sleep disruption increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease".

A month later, they all returned to the lab - except this time other half of the participants had their sleep disrupted, and the first half were allowed to sleep interruption-free.

"The more we were able to disrupt their slow-wave sleep, the more the amyloid increased", added Ju.

How well, not how much, people sleep may affect Alzheimer's disease risk. Specifically, "this suggests that there's something special about deep, slow-wave sleep", says Kristine Yaffe, a neurologist and psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco who was not involved in the study. In a commentary published alongside the Neurology study, two doctors - Adam Spira of Johns Hopkins University and Yo-El Ju of Washington University - emphasized the potential benefits of facilitating better sleep.

One of the functions of sleep is to wash neurotoxins from the brain, including beta-amyloid proteins, which other research has shown can worsen sleep.

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