Lack of sleep could increase the risk of dementia

Lack of sleep cause dementia-sleepy employee at work

Do you hit the ‘snooze’ function on your alarm clock multiple times before waking up in the morning? Do you doze off whenever you sit down and get comfortable? What about having difficulty in concentrating or impaired memory? If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these, you may be suffering from sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is associated with many health risks such as depression, heart disease and stroke. In April 2018, a study on the effect of sleep deprivation on the brain showed that continued lack of sleep could lead to a build-up of amyloid beta in the brain – a substance that contributes to the formation of amyloid plaques, which is linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

How does a lack of sleep increase the risk of dementia?

Just like any other organ or muscle, the brain produces waste products throughout the day that need to be removed, one of them known as amyloid beta. The central nervous system has what is known as the glymphatic system, a series of cell-defined pathways in the brain dedicated to removing these waste products.

Getting a substantial amount of undisturbed sleep is important is because the glymphatic system is not especially effective when we are awake. However, it becomes far more efficient at removing waste products when we are asleep. Without these periods of rest, the glymphatic system cannot remove enough of the amyloid beta in the brain, causing it to slowly build up as amyloid plaques, which hinder communication between neurons, and is known to play a role in Alzheimer’s.

A single poor night of sleep isn’t something to worry about, as the glymphatic system can regulate the amyloid beta levels over time. However, sustained periods of disrupted and poor sleep can add up, causing lasting damage.

How can you reduce your risk of dementia?

Getting enough rest every night could help to reduce your risk of dementia. An adult should receive an average of seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Additionally, we should be having deep, undisturbed REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep so that the body can keep the amyloid beta in the brain at a manageable level. It has also been shown that sleeping on your side allows the body to remove waste chemicals from the brain more efficiently. Although, with normal levels of sleep, it’s not something you should go out of your way to accommodate.

Getting more sleep isn’t the only way to reduce dementia. Other tactics include drinking less alcohol and taking part in regular physical and mental exercises. If you’re interested to learn more, Alzheimers Society has a list of ways you can reduce your risk of dementia as well as tips on how you can put these methods into practice.

What do you do after a dementia diagnosis?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, Romain Coleman solicitors can be there to manage all of the legal arrangements on your behalf and provide financial solutions for dementia care services. If you’re worried about the future, our specialist will and probate services can help you prepare your will, ensuring that you are ready for any eventuality. Making this difficult time more manageable for you is what we do.

To find out more on how we work as dementia care solicitors, call us at 0208 520 4555, or you can fill out our Online Form for a simple, no-nonsense conversation.

Please note: The solicitors at Romain Coleman are not health or sleep professionals, and what we say should not be used as a diagnosis. If you find you’re having trouble sleeping, please contact your GP.

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