Inadequate Sleep Sets Stage for Alzheimer's

We like to think that great days start with a great sleep. That saying may ring particularly true thanks to researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).

When we sleep, many processes take place within the body that maintain our health. A lack of sleep has been linked to diabetes, depression, heart disease, and other ailments (Read More from Time). According to researchers at OSHU, Alzheimer’s can now be added to the list as an inadequate amount of sleep may be setting the stage for Alzheimer’s (Read More from Time).

When we sleep, the glymphatic system (Read More from URMC) in the brain removes or cleans out the toxins that create the plaques and tangles (see plaque and tangle video below) that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Many people with Alzheimer’s experience sleep disturbances, and the previous school of thought was that the deterioration of the brain centers tasked with controlling sleep was to blame.

With these new findings, poor sleep can expedite or speed up the disease process, causing the adult with dementia to deteriorate quicker. This new information will encourage researchers to find the effectiveness of sleep therapies for delaying the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s in humans.

Research breakthroughs (Read More from DailyMail)

  • 2009: sticky amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s ‘develop more quickly in the brains of sleep-deprived mice'
  • 2013: too little sleep can speed up plaque development
  • 2015: A study from the University of California in October found that sleep patterns experienced by night shift workers and frequent flyers may cause Alzheimer’s (Read More from BMJ).
  • 2015: poor sleep allows memory-robing proteins to build up in the brain.

Watcha 3 minute video by Tender Rose Home Care on how plaques and tangles form in the brain.