A new study suggests that a lack of sleep can leave the brain susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. It has been shown that disturbances in sleep may actually set the stage for dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease develops when abnormal proteins collect in the brain. The symptoms of a disease include difficulty performing a daily activity, memory loss, changes in the behavior and emotions. These all are called as dementia symptoms, and these are not irreversible that means any loss of ability that developed the condition cannot come back. The disease is not curable, however, there are Alzheimer’s disease treatments and other lifestyle choices that may provide relief from Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Many studies are still going on to prevent or stop the disease and bring back lots of abilities developed during the problem.
Also Read: What is Alzheimer’s disease? Causes and Precautions
Sleep problems and Alzheimer’s disease
Our brain clears out toxins associated with Alzheimer’s during sleep. It has been demonstrated that disrupting a deep phase of sleep appears to cause more of the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease to collect in your brain. The interruption could lead to higher levels of a protein called beta amyloid that forms plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disorder. Having a lack of sleep for a long period may give rise to the unhealthy build up of brain plaque which is responsible for killing off neurons and wiping of the memory. Longer stretches may also give rise to higher levels of tau protein that can cause damage to brain cells. Even a single night of sleep can increase levels of amyloid beta, which forms a cluster and affects the ability to communicate with each other.
It has been clearly shown that disturbed sleep is linked with higher levels of two Alzheimer’s associated proteins.
According to previous research, poor or interrupted sleep raises the risk of cognitive problems. People who have sleep apnea, a condition in which an individual repeatedly stop breathing at night. These people are at high-risk of developing mild cognitive issues earlier than people without the sleeping problems. The mild cognitive problem is considered as an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition, and it is very difficult to treat it successfully with any one drug or other intervention. Along with Alzheimer’s disease medications, current approaches focus on managing behavioral symptoms and maintain mental health with the help of support and counselling.
Several drugs are approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of USA) for Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Medications like rivastigmine, galantamine, donepezil, are useful in treating mild to moderate condition, whereas, memantine is for moderate to severe Alzheimer’s condition. The regular administration of these medications regulates the brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which transmit messages between neurons. They are helpful in maintaining communication skills, memory, thinking ability, and in certain behavioral issues. However, this medication for Alzheimer’s disease care is not effective for all people; they may help a limited population of Alzheimer’s patients.
Tips to encourage quality sleep
There are some ways that can be followed to promote healthy sleep patterns. Some of the effective tricks are as follows:
- Quit caffeine- caffeine is found in beverages like tea, coffee, soda, etc. may add to the lack of sleep. It is considered as a stimulant, which makes it hard for an individual to sleep at night.
- Involve in physical activity-It is important for people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease take out the time to perform daily activities. This can promote healthy sleep, which in turn improves your brain function. One can also indulge in an exercise program; you can also go for a morning brisk walk and do appropriate age yoga.
Also Read: 5 Myths about Alzheimer’s Disease Debunked
Make a routine and stick to it- Try to sleep same time each night. This will help you sleep at the correct time. Avoid indulging in activities like playing games etc. instead, play some soothing music or have a shower for a good nightly routine to signal bedtime.