A good night’s sleep is as essential to a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that older adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night to feel refreshed and ready to face the day ahead. However, it’s common for your sleeping habits to change as you age, making getting that restful night of sleep a challenge at times.
A recent study conducted by Washington University’s Sleep Medicine Center found that healthy, middle-aged individuals who slept badly for even just one night produced an increased amount of beta-amyloid in their brains. This protein is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, known for clogging the brains of those with the condition. The study also found that a full week of disrupted sleep increased the amount of tau, another protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, the journal Neurology published a study regarding the link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. This study gathered 101 healthy, older adults who had some of the known risk factors for Alzheimer’s, such as family history, with an average age of 63. A standard scale was utilized to measure, how much they slept, how well they slept, and if they experienced daytime drowsiness or napped regularly. The participants also agreed to undergo a lumbar puncture so researchers could also analyze spinal fluid.
The study also found that participants who experienced sleep issues were also more likely to show evidence of brain cell damage and inflammation and that the amyloid protein rose with poor sleep. This aligns with the researcher’s idea that poor sleep may contribute to a higher level of Alzheimer’s-related proteins in the brain.
Think about how much better you feel after a good night’s sleep. You have a little extra “pep” in your step and are ready to tackle that to-do list for the day, feeling fresh and clear-minded. Without proper rest, your judgment can become impaired, and you also may have less control over your emotions.
The findings above reveal that getting that restful night of sleep is essential to better brain health and may decrease your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. If you have chronic sleeping problems, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, it’s important to seek treatment for your conditions sooner rather than later. Keep in mind that regardless of your age, a good night’s sleep is something everyone should be striving for.
Along with possibly delaying Alzheimer’s disease, sleep also allows your brain the proper time to fully recover from the day, which can improve your memory and thought processes overall, make your mind sharper throughout the day and even boost your mood and decrease the risk for depression.
Located within Good Samaritan Center at Advent Christian Village, our secure memory care neighborhood offers supportive, personalized Alzheimer’s and dementia care services. Our compassionate staff ensures all residents enjoy the meaningful and vibrant life they deserve. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a personal tour.