Not getting enough sleep could limit that from happening as much as it should.
Insufficient or poor-quality sleep has been shown to wreck short term memory, cause weight gain, and increase the risk of diseases ranging from depression to cancer.
Quality sleep may help protect your brain against dementia, a recent study suggests.
Researchers at Washington University's School of Medicine found sleep disruption leads to an increase in two proteins that are connected with the disease.
They looked for indicators in the fluid that are found in Alzheimer's patients. It's only people with longer sleep problems that may be at risk. Participants were surveyed about sleep quality.
All participants in the sleep study are risk factors for Alzheimer's, such as family history, associated with a greater chance of developing this disease. Volunteers slept just as much on the night when deep sleep was disrupted as they did on the night when no sound was played through the headphones.
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"[The study] shows specifically that slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, is important for lowering the levels of amyloid overnight", said Yo-El Ju, a neurologist at the University of Washington at Saint Louis and a co-author of the research.
Healthy adults built up Alzheimer's-associated proteins in their cerebral spinal fluid when prevented from getting slow-wave sleep, the deepest stage of sleep, researchers report July 10 in Brain. "But we could see, when the participants had several bad nights in a row at home, that their tau levels had risen".
One of the functions of sleep is to wash neurotoxins from the brain, including beta-amyloid proteins, which other research has shown can worsen sleep. People in the study who slept poorly for a week also had more of a protein called tau in their spinal fluid than they did when well rested.
Regardless of the mechanisms and levels of risk, the authors of both studies write that improving sleep should be considered a priority. "Our goal was to get them to just get out of slow-wave sleep, but not wake up", said Ju. Each person rated the amount they slept, their quality of sleep and trouble in sleeping, along with daytime naps and drowsiness. "I do think chronic sleep disruption increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease".
Get regular exercise every day but not too close to bedtime, and lastly, try to get morning sun exposure.