A Caucasian man sleeping by an alarm clock with text "Sleeping Well May Prevent Alzheimer's"

Getting a good night’s sleep can be rejuvenating. Sound slumber may boost the brain by protecting you against Alzheimer’s disease. A new study released by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, reports people with declining quality of sleep from ages 50 to 60 have more protein tangles in their brain, putting them at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Studies show while we sleep, the slow-wave activity of nerve cells appears to make room for cerebral spinal fluid to move in and out of the brain – a process believed to rinse out metabolic waste products. In other words, the brain has a system for taking out the garbage while you are in dreamland.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH), new findings center on a protein called tau, which accumulates in abnormal tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation upsets the balance allowing tau to be released and spread within the brain areas for memory. A reduction in slow-waves wash cycles would limit the brain’s ability to clear out the toxins associated with Alzheimer’s.

These new findings suggest that good sleep habits might play an important role in slowing and/or preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Sources:

University of California – Berkeley. “Disrupted sleep in one’s 50s, 60s raises risk of Alzheimer’s disease: Protein tangles in the aging brain throw sleep rhythms out of sync, likely leading to memory loss.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2019. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190627114105.htm

Makin, Simon. Deep Sleep Gives Your Brain a Deep Clean. Scientific American. Retrieved from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/deep-sleep-gives-your-brain-a-deep-clean1/

Winer JR, Mander BA. Waking Up to the Importance of Sleep in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer Disease. JAMA Neurol. 2018;75(6):654–656. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.0005

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Categories: Uncategorized