Lack of Sleep May Cause a Vicious Cycle Ending in Alzheimer’s Disease

Bruce Levenson said researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have a new theory regarding the link between lack of sleep and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that a lack of sleep leads to a buildup of beta-amyloid proteins, known to cause dementia and other neurological disorders.

A steady buildup of beta-amyloid proteins is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. They clog the brain and render it unable to function. When humans enter the deepest levels of sleep the brain is able to flush out these toxic proteins and engages in the function of deeply impressing memories.

The vicious cycle begins when sleep stops. Beta-amyloids buildup and in turn make it more difficult to reach the deepest levels of sleep. Then the further lack of sleep leads to even more buildup of toxic proteins.

Fortunately, it is possible to improve sleep and decrease your chance of getting Alzheimer’s. Regular exercise and behavioral therapy are possible solutions for restless nights. Electrical stimulation has also been shown to improve sleep and memory in independent studies.

A new study will be conducted on humans to determine the link between the lack of sleep and dementia. Getting a good night’s sleep may be all we really need to fight off one of the biggest afflictions of an aging generation.