Does Lack of Sleep Increase Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

November 29, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Madelaine @ 6:15 pm
woman yawning at her desk

If you are frequently tired throughout the day no matter how much sleep you seem to get, you’re not alone. It likely means that you suffer from a sleep condition known as sleep apnea, where you suffer from episodes of not being able to breathe for a short period of time at night. This can lead to snoring as well as waking up during the night choking or gasping for air. You might not remember these episodes, but they keep you from getting the restful sleep you need. And according to a recent study, lack of quality sleep may actually increase your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease later on in life. Read on to learn more.

The Results of the Study

The study, which was conducted by researchers from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, suggests that disturbed sleep due to conditions such as sleep apnea may contribute to cognitive impairment, especially in older individuals. They also have noted that people with Alzheimer’s tend to spend more time awake at night than those without the neurological disorder.

The researchers analyzed self-reported sleep data from 70 adults with an average age of 76 years. They looked at factors like the mean hours of sleep they had each night, how often they woke up during the night, and whether they had trouble falling asleep. Then, their levels of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain were measured. Beta-amyloids are a type of plaque that have been linked to regulating sleep-wake levels in the brain, and are higher in patients with dementia.

The study found that those with shorter sleep and lower sleep quality were linked to increased build-up of beta-amyloids. Basically, that means a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you find yourself tired all the time despite getting plenty of sleep, it means there is a chance you might have sleep apnea. In that case, the best thing for you to do would be to visit your dentist and/or take a sleep test to assess your individual situation.

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist can treat it with a CPAP machine, which involves a mask you wear over your nose that essentially does your breathing for you.

More often than not, however, patients prefer what’s called an oral appliance. This is a small device worn over the teeth and/or tongue that repositions the structures in the mouth so that the tissues in the throat don’t collapse and block the airway while you’re sleeping.

If you think you might have sleep apnea, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. It could prevent you from contracting Alzheimer’s disease!

About the Author

Dr. James A. Moreau graduated from the LSU School of Dentistry in 1980. One of his areas of expertise is in helping patients with sleep apnea. With decades of experience under his belt, he can help you achieve the quality rest you deserve. To learn more, contact Dr. Moreau at his website or by calling (985) 809-7645.

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