New study suggests link between interrupted sleep and Alzheimer’s disease

Couple sleeping in a comfortable bed
Couple sleeping in a comfortable bed (ThinkStock)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WISH) — A new study by a group of researchers at Wheaton College in Illinois suggests a connection between interrupted sleep and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was recently presented at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London.

Research found significant associations between sleep disordered breathing and the accumulation of bio-markers for Alzheimer’s disease.

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) happens when there are multiple episodes of under breathing (hypopnea) or not breathing (apnea) during sleep.

The findings highlight the idea that SDB is a modifiable factor that may help lower the risk of dementia and possibly slow the progression of dementia where it already exists.

Community Hospital Sleep Special and M.D. Hany Haddad said sleep is important and should be addressed early in life before any symptoms of dementia.

“Sleep is necessary. It’s not just to feel a little bit better. It may affect our life in the future including the increased risk of Alzheimer’s,” Haddad said

People who have a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease need to be particularly aware of this and avoid sleep issues or get proper treatment for them early on.

“Good sleep quality is important, amount of sleep we achieve is important so don’t cheat on your sleep because it may effect your mental capacity when you are old,” Haddad said.

Haddad added that most people need 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep a night. It is important people get those hours every night and not just try to catch up on sleep on the weekends. He said it is a common myth that sleep can be caught up in one day.

“Feeling sleepy during the daytime is not normal. It’s not always related to ‘oh I’m so busy, I have something on my mind.’ Something could be fragmenting that sleep because we need not only the quantity of sleep but the quality of the sleep is important,” Haddad added.

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