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Everything You Need to Know About Sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease

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There is absolutely no denying the importance of a good night’s sleep. Especially as you age, sleep has restorative properties that are essential to proper health and functioning. Even just one or two nights of bad sleep can impair your ability to think and function the following day.

But did you know science has begun to show a link between poor sleep and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? As Alzheimer’s disease becomes more and more prevalent, researchers are working harder to find any contributing factors. Several studies have shown a direct correlation between a lack of deep sleep and an increased risk of developing the disease.

How Sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease are Related

Without getting too deep into the science behind the functions of the human brain, it’s important to understand how Alzheimer’s disease affects your brain and how a lack of sleep can worsen these issues.

Alzheimer’s disease is generally characterized by the presence of amyloid plaques and tau tangles within the brain. Beta-amyloid is a metabolic waste product that is found in the fluid that surrounds the brain cells. A build-up of this plaque impairs brain function and hinders communication between neurons.

Several studies have discovered that sleep can play a role in clearing out beta-amyloid build-up within the brain. Meaning a good night’s sleep can help remove plaque, as well as prevent more from forming.

So, how do you know if you’re getting enough sleep? Sleep is divided up into several stages and alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. With a full night of rest, the body typically spends the first part of the night in NREM and then later moves to REM. NREM sleep is important for the formulation of long-term memories and could play a small role in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Future of Alzheimer’s Disease Research

There are many benefits of getting a full night’s rest, especially as you age. And while there is limited evidence about the distinct correlation between a lack of sleep and Alzheimer’s disease, it’s clear that research is starting to show a connection.

Getting a good night’s rest, eating healthy and staying active are all essential to aging gracefully. But if there’s the potential that a full night of sleep can also help you fight off mental decline, it’s definitely something to prioritize.

Improving the Aging Process at Peregrine Senior Living

At Peregrine Senior Living, we value integrity, dignity and commitment to quality. Our goal is to improve the lives of our residents and help them in their search for purpose, despite what has been lost by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Our unique approach to memory care ensures that each and every resident grows mentally, spiritually and physically. We want to help you or your loved one find their zest for life. We encourage you to contact us today to learn more.

Written by
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

More Articles By
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

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