Why Sleep is Your Friend in Prevention

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Leading medical journal, The Lancet, has recently published more research on the importance of sleep. Not only is getting adequate sleep necessary to perform daily tasks, but it also helps prevent dementia and promotes brain function. Of course, there is a balance at play… most people get too little sleep, but too much sleep can also have adverse effects on brain health.

As stated in The Lancet report, “Mechanisms by which sleep might affect dementia remain unclear, but sleep disturbance has been linked with β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition, reduced glymphatic clearance pathways activation low grade inflammation, increased Tau, hypoxia, and cardiovascular disease. Sleep disturbance is hypothesised to increase inflammation which raises Aβ burden, leading to Alzheimer’s disease and further sleep disturbance.”

Researchers found that sleep disturbances were defined broadly, often self-reported, and included short and long sleep duration, poor sleep quality, circadian rhythm abnormality, insomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea. All these disturbances were associated with a higher risk of all-cause dementia. 

Furthermore, as supported by your ARPF, researchers found no evidence that sleep medications slow down dementia and instead can cause considerable harm– i.e. earlier death, increased hospitalization, and falls. The testing of non-pharmacological interventions is ongoing.

Getting a good night’s rest is an important aspect of healthy living for a number of reasons. ARPF has dedicated a chapter of our new online program that specifically tackles the issue of sleep deprivation. The Brain Longevity Therapy Training teaches students the best sleep practices to help prevent the build-up of Aβ-amyloid (Aβ) deposition and inflammation, along with explaining the role sleep plays in brain health.

Here’s a sneak peek of the BLTT sleep chapter:

The relationship between sleep and inflammation within the central nervous system is an important aspect of aging and brain health. Neuroinflammation has been associated with cognitive decline. Older brains are usually inflamed, and research suggests that sleep disturbance alters proteins of inflammatory mediators and gene expression. Similarly, insufficient sleep has been associated with neuroinflammation. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and is associated with depression, impaired cognitive function, dementia, and delirium. 

Researchers found that adult mice who went without sleep for several days had significant levels of oxidative stress, a breakdown of mitochondrial homeostasis, and a loss of locus coeruleus neurons. Loss of locus coeruleus neurons has been shown to advance cognitive decline in animal models of AD. Therefore, sleep disturbance and chronic sleep loss may have lasting significant effects on brain longevity. Current research collectively supports that chronic sleep loss may speed the onset of certain symptoms of age-related neurodegenerative processes.

For more information on how to overcome sleep disturbances and recharge your brain without the use of harmful prescriptions, visit our BLTT training page.

Read the full Lancet report here.

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