Published Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Nation of Poor Sleepers
Insufficient sleep affects 50-70 million adults in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call poor sleep a “public health problem”, and many studies demonstrate that sleep problems increase one’s risk for diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, many side effects of Alzheimer’s disease are sleep-related, including insomnia and nighttime wandering. However, poor sleep many not only be a side-effect of Alzheimer’s disease, but also a contributing factor to its development. Over the past decade, numerous studies have indicated a correlation between disrupted sleep in middle-aged life and the onset of Alzheimer’s later in life.
Studying Sleep and Alzheimer's Disease
- In 2009, researchers from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis found that sticky amyloid plaques built up in the brains of sleep-deprived mice. Alzheimer’s experts regard deposits of amyloid plaques as the first known preclinical stage of the disease, occurring before any signs of memory loss begin to appear.
- While observing mice, scientists determined in 2013 that animals’ brains enter into a cleansing process during deep sleep, in which many toxins, including amyloid plaques, are cleared out of the brain tissue by the glymphatic system. They theorized that human brains undergo a similar process.
- More recently, studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference reported that participants who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and similar sleep-related breathing disorders had greater increases in amyloid deposits over a three-year period.
- In early July, the journal, Neurology also published a study of 101 participants who all had known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, including family history and the presence of the APOE gene. The participants underwent a lumbar puncture and self-reported their sleep habits throughout the length of the study.
- After analyzing participants’ spinal fluids, researchers found that those who reported frequent sleep issues were more likely to have brain cell damage and inflammation associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Hope for Early Detection
"Our findings align with the idea that worse sleep may contribute to the accumulation of Alzheimer's-related proteins in the brain," Dr. Barbard Bendlin of Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center said to CNN. "The fact that we can find these effects in people who are cognitively healthy and close to middle age suggest that these relationships appear early, perhaps providing a window of opportunity for intervention." Brendlin suggests that these findings could help reduce the number of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s by 5.7 million over the next 30 years.
Get Some Rest!
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for a person’s mood, performance, and health. While scientists need more research and studies to determine which comes first, insufficient sleep or Alzheimer’s disease, the data illustrates that there is a definite correlation between the two. So do yourself a favor and try to get a solid eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Give your brain time to rest and cleanse itself.
For some tips on getting a good night’s sleep, check out this list from the National Sleep Foundation.
New study shows that drugs are not as effective at treating CRF
Published Tuesday, 09 May 2017
Published Wednesday, 03 February 2016
One of the most common symptoms of cancer treatments is fatigue. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy can feel exhausted and heavy, with little to no desire to join in everyday activities. This type of fatigue oftentimes cannot be cured by simply getting more sleep. A report by The JAMA Network released in early March revealed that non-drug treatments such as exercise or psychotherapy are more effective for reducing cancer-related-fatigue (CRF) than pharmaceutical solutions.
- The JAMA Network’s report analyzed 113 individual studies monitoring over 11,500 unique participants, in order to determine which treatment – exercise, psychological, the combination of exercise and psychological, and pharmaceutical – normally recommended for CRF is most effective.
- Exercise and psychological treatments, as well as the combination of the two, reduced fatigue by 26 to 30 percent during and after cancer treatment.
- Pharmaceutical treatments were only seen to reduce fatigue by 9 percent.
- The authors of the study urge doctors to prescribe exercise or psychological interventions as first-line treatments for CRF.
- The main author of the study, Dr. Karen Mustian of the University of Rochester Medical Center, says that the exercise therapy doesn’t necessarily have to be intense or vigorous. Most of the studies analyzed included walking and resistance training exercises. Also, the psychological treatment does not only mean structured therapy appointments with a counselor, but can also include group sessions and actively practicing mindfulness.
This report demonstrates that pharmaceutical treatments should no longer be the go-to prescription for patients dealing with CRF. Physical activity and psychological therapy can often do more to help reduce this fatigue than drugs or caffeine, even if they do not always seem like the easiest solutions.
Dr. Mustian in an interview said, “While our knee-jerk reactions might be to retreat, and to rest, and for caretakers to be very protective…actually encouraging [cancer patients] to be more active, asking them to get up and go for a 10-minute walk and walking with them – those kinds of things can make some of the most drastic positive impacts in the entire experience that someone would have with cancer.”
Read more about the report and real life success stories here.
Published Saturday, 12 September 2015
A late bedtime is actually better than a full night of sleep with interruptions. New study: Adults who had a delayed bedtime experienced only a 12% reduction in positive mood versus 31% in those who were awakened several times during the night. Explanation: The interrupted sleepers had less slow-wave sleep, the type that leaves you feeling restored and rested.
Published Friday, 17 July 2015
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following advices are recommended:
1. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it.
2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
Published Saturday, 11 April 2015
Try having one of these snacks one hour before bedtime. Kiwis are rich in serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Cheese and whole-wheat-crackers contain 80% carbohydrates and 20% protein, the best ratio for boosting serotonin. But skip aged cheeses, such as Parmesan—they have an amino acid that can raise levels of stimulating chemicals. Tart cherry juice contains high levels of the hormone melatonin, which may help you sleep longer and more soundly.
Published Saturday, 21 February 2015
Sleep apnea and other sleep problems that interfere with breathing affect almost one in five men and one in 10 women older than 50. According to a recent examination of the brains of deceased older men, those with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea had a higher risk of brain lesions linked to dementia, report researchers from the Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care System. The likely culprits: low blood-oxygen levels and less time spent in restorative, deep sleep. Speak with your doctor if you have signs of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring and gasping for breath during sleep.
Published Saturday, 24 January 2015
Better bedtime reading. Adult volunteers who used electronic readers or tablets, such as iPads, for four hours before bedtime had a harder time falling asleep…got less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep…and felt less alert and rested the next morning than when they spent the same amount of time reading a printed book. Why: Tablets emit blue light directly into the reader’s eyes, which can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt the circadian clock.
A long-term study of initially healthy 65-year-olds found that those who slept the least (about five hours or less without waking) tended to have fewer neurons (brain cells) in a part of the brain that controls sleep. Also: Many in the study who developed Alzheimer’s disease were those who had fewer neurons and less sleep. To protect your brain: Keep neurons healthy with good sleep habits, and seek treatment if you suspect you may have a sleep disorder.