Monday, November 10, 2014

Sleep!! We've Got to Sleep!!!

I read a very interesting article yesterday in the November issue of Prevention Magazine.  The cover read "Wake Up Refreshed! AND save your brain.  To read the more condensed version of the article go to this site.

Well, who isn't interested in saving their brain?  Those of us who have witnessed Alzheimer's Disease up close and personal are especially interested!!

According to this article, too little sleep damages the brain.  The damage may even be permanent.  And it looks like it increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

People who have trouble sleeping, maybe even getting less than 6.8 hrs. according to one study, show changes in brain volume in areas important to memory and problem solving.
Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester discovered something really interesting in a study of mice.  There is, as reported in this article from Prevention Magazine, "a kind of plumbing system for ridding the brain of unwanted waste.  Importantly, this cellular trash includes beta-amyloids and other proteins, the dreaded buildup of which is associated with cognitive problems, including Alzheimer's disease....The researchers found that this system became twice as active during sleep, allowing the brain to vastly increase its removal of potentially harmful gunk.  Put another way: When you don't sleep enough, your brain might get overrun with the most destructive kind of neurological trash."
And for you young people who insist you're getting enough sleep (you know who you are...), one study of healthy young people who had less than 7 hours of sleep for 7 days showed a decrease in cognitive performance that continued even after three additional nights of good sleep.

Link to Alzheimer's-- Studies have shown a definite correlation between sleep deprivation and mild cognitive impairment and dementia.  Both of those conditions are very linked to future diagnoses of Alzheimer's!!  One study of 15,000 people showed that people who have less than 5 hours sleep for several years perform poorly on memory performance tests equivalent to 2 years of additional brain aging!!  Another study of older people showed that people who had had 3-4 years of insufficient sleep had a 50% higher risk of brain again.

Well!!  Time to get more sleep!  This is a simple way to reduce one's risk of Alzheimer's!

And who would not like more sleep anyway.  Makes us happier, more pleasant to be around, and better able to function.  We all know that even without a study, right?

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