Not Sleeping Can Cause Alzheimer’s Disease

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Over 5.2 million Americans over the age of 65, as well as hundreds of thousands under the age of 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer’s. This disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that occurs when nerve cells in the brain die. There is a sticky plaque substance called Beta Amyloid that coats the brain cells.  The buildup of this substance, along with many other reasons, is why people get Alzheimer’s disease. Recent findings indicate long-term sleep deprivation could be a major cause.

Long-Term Sleep Deprivation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DDC), one in three American adults does not get proper sleep. Sleep deprivation is not always due to the number of hours slept. The quality of sleep is more important. There are multiple stages to the sleep cycle, all of which need to be hit in order for the brain to maintain healthy functioning throughout the day. The most important stages of the cycle are deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.  This 1/3 of people who do not have proper sleep is due to lack of quantity and quality. Experts have agreed that getting an average of 7 hours each night allows the brain enough time to reach all the stages and maintain high-quality brain function.  One of the vitally important things that happen in the brain during deep sleep and REM sleep is the flushing.

How Brain Flushing Affects Alzheimer’s Disease

Brain flushing is incredibly important when considering a functioning brain. During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically. This spike in brain fluid washes away harmful waste proteins, including beta-amyloid, that build up between brain cells during waking hours. This periodic brain flush occurs about every 4 hours after sleep. This vital flush only occurs during the deep sleep phase of the sleep cycle. Because beta-amyloid is the leading cause of dementia in general, this could save people’s lives.

Take preventative measures against Alzheimer’s and dementia. Get good quality sleep.

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