Depriving yourself from sleep can be disastrous for your health. A new research has found that sleepless nights could result in raising brain levels of Alzheimer’s protein.
Scientists of the Netherlands, who conducted the study, said after a sleepless night even a healthy brain has higher than normal levels of the protein that forms the signature tangles in Alzheimer’s disease.
“We think normal healthy sleep helps reduce the amount of (amyloid) beta in the brain and if your sleep is disturbed this decrease is prevented,” said study author Dr Jurgen Claassen, from Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen.
Those people who suffer the sleep disorder largely have higher chances of building the amyloid-beta concentration and could lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Previous study says, every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s in the United States. And the most shocking is that 1 out of 6 women have a form of the disease by the age of 65.
According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, the disease is the sixth leading killer in our country.
According to Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia will grow as the U.S. population of those age 65 and older increases.
Alzheimer’s affects patient’s memory, communication skills and their executive functions.
In 2014, it’s expected that $214 billion will be spent on people suffering from the disease or a form of it.
Moreover, it is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death for older Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The researchers carried the study on mice and found decrease in the amount of amyloid-beta in its brain after a good night’s sleep. That suggests sleep plays a role in cleaning out the protein overnight.
The researchers also carried study on humans. They found that the men who got a good sleep had amyloid-beta levels in their spinal fluid about 6 percent lower in the morning than when they had gone to bed.
“We think the beta is cleared from the brain or less produced during sleep,” Claassen told Reuters Health, adding that it could be both.
Dr. Michael Shelanski, co-director of Columbia University’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain in New York City, cautioned that the new study can’t prove the amyloid-beta proteins have anything to do with Alzheimer’s risk.
“We really don’t have any evidence from this paper that that’s the case,” said Shelanski, who was not involved in the new study.
According to the researchers, adequate sleep duration is defined, with regard of age, as:
For children ages six months to two years, less than 12 hours per day was considered inadequate.
For children between ages three and four, 10 hours of sleep per day was necessary.
For children between five and seven years of age, less than nine hours was insufficient.
The findings of the study were published in JAMA Neurology.