Study Finds Significant Links Between Interrupted Sleep And Alzheimer’s Disease
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Study Finds Significant Links Between Interrupted Sleep And Alzheimer’s Disease

Anjali Nayyar
2 min read

Study Finds Significant Links Between Interrupted Sleep And Alzheimer’s Disease

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Can we finally give sleep the importance it needs to be given? It’s not just ‘beauty’ sleep anymore - it’s ‘mental, physical, and emotional’ sleep!

Scientists have found out that disrupted sleep makes one prone to Alzheimer’s, a disease that leads to loss of memory, understanding, and overall mental stability. A new research has found a relationship between poor sleep and the appearance of compounds that cause Alzheimer’s. "We showed that poor sleep is associated with higher levels of 2 Alzheimer's-associated proteins", said David M Holtzman, one of the researchers from Washington University. "We think that perhaps chronic poor sleep during middle age may increase the risk of Alzheimer's later in life", Holtzman noted.

How does sleep affect the development of Alzheimer’s?

The buildup of beta-amyloid and tau (brain proteins) are precursors to Alzheimer’s – this buildup is said to increase in the absence of sound sleep. A research conducted at Wheaton College, Illinois, revealed that sleep disturbances caused by breathing disorders (hypopnea – under breathing, or apnea – not breathing) resulted in the increase of beta-amyloid deposits. One of the Wheaton researchers, Megan Hogan, explains how – “During sleep…your  brain has time to wash away all the toxins that have built up throughout the day. Continually interrupting sleep may give it less time to do that”, she said. Moreover, one requires not just sleep, but deep sleep for the beta-amyloids to be washed away. So a lighter stage of sleep, broken by snoring or choking, is a cycle break. The body must restart the cycle again. Repeated cycles do not reach the deep sleep stage, and the protein builds up.

Can it happen to me?

Now, the appearance of the horrifying Alzheimer’s creating proteins is not the result of a one-night stand. Basically, the proteins won’t build up in your brain if you haven’t slept well one night or a few nights. It occurs in people who are unable to sleep night after night – where the airway tract closes fully or partially, interrupting sleep. Also, it would be unwise to deduce that if you are sleeping well, you will not have Alzheimer’s. All these numerous researches are an attempt to understand the connection between sleeping and Alzheimer’s, so that the disease can be managed better. So take an adequate amount of rest, and hope for the best.

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