Sleep On: It Could Save Your Life!

Christina Dodd 

According to new research, lack of sleep could be an advancing, cautionary signal or distress call warning to the origins of pre-senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Patients with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty in sleeping, and lack of sleep could also lend to the disorder by steering the development and expansion of amyloid plaques in the brain, considered to be a distinctive feature of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley believes that the missing piece in the Alzheimer’s puzzle appears to be lack of sleep and encouraging deep sleep can help in reducing the cognitive burden imparted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Sleep On

In one particular study, medical scientists assessed the brainwaves of 25 normal adults with regular cognitive abilities during their sleep and discovered that those participants with interrupted deep sleep patterns had greater proportions of amyloid plaques in the brain. Moreover, both interrupted sleep and greater proportions of amyloid plaque were connected to poor achievement on memory examinations carried before and after sleep. However, there was no follow-up on the participants of the study to check if any of them developed moderate cognitive damage, which is often considered to be a harbinger to Alzheimer’s in the years to come. Incidentally, the study also revealed that disrupted deep sleep contributes to an accumulation of amyloid, which in turn is connected with damaged performance on memory trials. This is an indication that lack of deep sleep could be a signal of amyloid progress, which could be inducing very impalpable brain modifications, long before the disease progresses.

It is ambiguous at this time if rectifying sleep difficulties could arrest the advancement of Alzheimer’s in particular, but it is definitely known that getting sleep without any disruption is completely pivotal for brain health. Sleep is essential for preserving metabolic equilibrium in one’s brain. Insomnia is connected to mitochondrial tension, and in the absence of adequate sleep, neuron atrophy kicks in.

In our body, the system responsible for doing away with cellular waste products is the lymphatic system. However the lymphatic system does not help in detoxifying the waste products in the brain. This is because the brain is a barricaded system bastioned by the blood brain bulwark, which ascertains what can pass and what cannot.

The glymphatic system is what helps in purging the dregs by pushing cerebral spinal fluid across the brain’s matter, from the brain, back into the blood circulation. From here, the waste matter finally arrives at the liver, wherein it is ultimately dispensed of. This system builds up its natural process only during sleep, thereby permitting the brain to clean out the poisons, comprising destructive proteins connected with Alzheimer’s. Throughout sleep, the glymphatic system becomes 10 times more dynamic than during sleeplessness.
According to clinical psychologists and medical experts, it is important to sleep an adequate number of offers so that energy is conserved throughout the day without the stimulation of artificial means such as caffeine, but with the exclusion of a daylight snooze. When individuals push themselves and are unable to get high-quality deep sleep or even sufficient hours of sleep, they become predisposed to post-prandial hypoglycaemia. Simply put, they begin to experience resistance towards low insulin and in the absence of good sleep, blood sugar begins to drop which makes the individual sleepy throughout the day. It is extremely important to pay close attention to the kind of clues the body is giving you and rectify the problems immediately in order to prevent future health issues. In addition to the hazards of Alzheimer’s, sleep deprivation can also affect the immune system as much as physical illness or stress can, which is crucial in explaining why individuals have a heightened risk of innumerable degenerative illnesses due to lack of sleep.

Here are some changes you might want to consider implementing not only to improve brain health but also enhance overall well-being. These include:

  • Refrain from watching television or working on the computer till late in the evening, at least 60 minutes before going to bed. Television and computer monitors emit blue light, which tricks the brain into believing that it is daytime. Between 9 and 10 PM, the brain begins to start secreting melatonin in order to induce the process of sleep, but with prolonged use of devices that emit blue light, the process of melatonin secretion can get stifled.
  • Ensure that you get a good to switch off hence the sunlight regularly. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland based on the amount of bright sun exposure is received during the day and which lacked darkness at night. If you do not receive adequate sunlight during the day, the pineal gland cannot appreciate the difference and is unable to optimise production of melatonin in the body.
  • Night time sleep must be in complete darkness. Even the slightest glimmer of light in the sleeping area can greatly hamper the body’s clock and the production of melatonin by the pineal gland. A wee bit of light even from the clock could disrupt sleep patterns and hence it is important that any form of device emitting light must be covered or removed from the sleeping area. Cover windows and any open area with drapes or blackout shades and if this is not possible, wearing an eye mask can help in reducing your exposure towards light at night.

Making small adjustments to one’s daily routine and sleeping position can go a long way in ensuring, deep and restful sleep and eventually optimal health.

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Editor Review by : Christina Dodd
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