More and more Americans choose other activities over sleeping. Even though the lack of sleep is becoming part of many people’s lifestyle, researchers warn us that the lack of sleep can lead to Alzheimer’s.
Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University decided to study the impact of the lack of sleep on the human brain. Jeffrey Iliff, the lead author of the study said that when people sleep, the brain gets rid of the toxins that are associated with dementia or Alzheimer. Previous studies done on animals showed that when the animals were deprived of sleep, these toxins continued to build up until the brain was damaged severely.
For a long time, Alzheimer’s has been linked to the lack of sleep, but for other reasons. The Alzheimer’s patients have sleeping disorders. The researchers from OHSU wanted to see if the connection between the two would still be available if it was inversed.
In the past, studies proved that the dementia was deactivating the parts of the brain associated with normal sleep. But two studies conducted recently revealed that the connection between the two was more complicated than they thought.
A 2009 research done by researchers from the Washington University, showed that the amyloid plaques formed faster in the brains of the mice that were deprived of sleep. The amyloid plaques are associated with Alzheimer’s.
A study led by Illif and his team showed that the lack of sleep can lead to the increase of these placques. They also discovered the glymphatic system, during which the brains of the animals got rid of the toxins. The toxins were cleared out with the help of the cerebrospinal fluid. If the animals didn’t get enough hours of sleep, the cleaning process was not done and the were not removed. Another study will be conducted in the near future by Iliff and his team in order to see the glymphatic system in humans.
Because the lack of sleep can lead to Alzheimer’s, here are some tips on how to sleep better at night. You can start by taking a shower or a bath at night, as they are considered very relaxing. When you eat your dinner can also affect your sleep. You eat at least three hours before going to sleep, and an easier meal like a salad is recommended. Going to sleep with an empty stomach should also be avoided. Instead of drinking a coffee in the evening, try replacing it with a herbal tea or a glass of warm milk.
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