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Sleep Deprivation Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease

Sleep deprivation has become a public health problem, it has been estimated 50 to 70 million people suffer from this in the U.S alone. While it continues to be a health issue it has been linked to some very serious illnesses, Alzheimer’s being one.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive mental disorder that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility. Symptoms usually develop slowly, causing problems with memory, thinking and behaviour, language and becomes worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

Alzheimer’s was named after the doctor who first described it, it is a physical disease that affects the brain. During the course of the disease, proteins build up in the brain to form structures, called plaques and tangles. This leads to the loss of connection between nerve cells, leading to the death of nerve cells and loss of brain tissue.

People with Alzheimer’s also have a shortage of certain chemicals in their brain, these chemicals help transmit signals around the brain, when these chemicals are missing, or you have a decreased amount the brain cannot function as effectively.

Doctors now know sleep deprivation is extremely detrimental to your health, affecting all aspects of your life. Due to studies carried out on mice, we now know sleep deprivation is linked to Alzheimer’s, as the studies showed a link between the lack of sleep and brain plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Unfortunately evidence suggests the connection may work in both directions, plaques disrupt sleep, and lack of sleep promotes plaques. So while it is evident there is a connection between the lack of sleep and Alzheimer’s disease, these finding are also very important, in part because sleep disturbances can be treated in older adults.

Treatments for poor sleep, or any efforts made to promote and maintain healthy sleep patterns, may help to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. So the important thing here is sleep, or the lack of it, if you are suffering from lack of sleep, or your sleep is interrupted many times during the night, see a medical professional, this may help in avoiding all manner of unwanted health problems for you.

Check out some other effects of no sleep!

Some Side Effects Of Not Getting Enough Sleep

baby-sleepingIn years gone by everyone knew sleep deprivation was not good for you. However study after study has been done on this subject and the effects of this disease are much broader than first thought. Many health problems have come to light due to lack of sleep, and it not only affects your physical health, but also your mental health.

While most people suffer the odd bout of insomnia, or a few restless nights or even nights without any sleep, this is not considered sleep deprivation and does not have lasting health consequences. However chronic insomnia, or chronic restless sleep does have a wide variety of symptoms and does have a very real effect on every aspect of your health.

Considering that a person generally needs 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night, it is not surprising that without it your body cannot function as efficiently as it should. This can lead to depression and mood changes, also elevate your blood pressure and can slow down your metabolism, leading to unwanted weight gain.

While you may be aware of these effects of going without sleep, you may not know it can lead to heart disease and has been linked to cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer. There are many other links under study at this time,links to such things as increased inflammation throughout your body,this in turn can lead to a whole host of other diseases and complications.

Being sleep deprived also affect your immune system, increases your risk of diabetes, permanently damages your skin, reduces the effect of vaccines, increases the risk of strokes, destroys your bones and as if this isn’t enough it can also shorted your life expectancy. So as you can see lack of quality sleep is a very serious problem, therefore people suffering from this disease should seek professional help.

Fortunately, there are many options available. While the best treatment is of course getting more sleep another option is activity, getting more exercise can aid in getting a good nights sleep. Other things to keep in mind are noise levels, room temperature, and the darkness of the room.

Another thing to consider is medication, there are several different types to choose from, you and your doctor will decide which one best suits your needs and is the right medication for you. Hopefully with your doctors help you can find what works best for you and finally, get the good nights sleep you deserve and avoid the more serious effects of sleep deprivation.

How Lack Of Sleep Effects Your Health

so-tiredHow does sleep deprivation affects your health? Over a period of time the lack of sleep or constant interruption of sleep leads to a condition known as sleep deprivation, this condition can adversely affect our health, not only physical but also mentally.

The amount of sleep we require is 7 to 8 hours a night, this amount is good for our body as well as our mind. When we are sleep deprived things change like our mood for instance. Lack of sleep has been linked to mood changes and we become more erratic, irritable and get angry far more quickly and much more often. Our attention span is also affected as is our lack of concentration this may make things more difficult for us at work.

Mood changes also affect relationships as we become far more distant an sensitive as well as less hopeful and less friendly, this condition can also lead to short term memory loss and even depression, the list goes on as these symptoms are a only some of the effects this disorder can have on our mental ability to function normally.

Now your body also comes under attack as the lack of sleep has been linked to an increase in hypertension (high blood pressure) this is due to the fact, during sleep it is thought that your blood helps regulate stress hormones, so over time the lack of sleep could hinder our body’s ability to do it’s job, leading to an increase in blood pressure.

Studies have also shown people who sleep less than six hours a night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who got eights hours of sleep a night. The reason for this is not yet quite understood, although researchers believe that sleeping too little can cause disruptions in underlying health conditions and processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation.

One of the reasons we know lack of sleep affects the heart is in patients with sleep apnea, which causes them to wake frequently throughout the night these patients often have compromised heart health. Poor sleep may also be linked to Alzheimer’s, as well as diabetes and weight gain, in fact the more sleep deprived we are the higher the stress hormone cortisol, which increases the appetite, because we are tired you may be tempted to drink an extra coffee and maybe eat a cookie to increase your energy, or after work pick up takeout as you are to tired to cook – it’s a vicious cycle, when we don’t get enough sleep it causes low energy then you reach for comfort foods like potato chips or cookies, while this helps energy level it also increases our waistlines.

Sleep deprivation can cause death, sleep loss contributes to an increase in accidents and injuries because our judgement is hindered we may pushing ourselves to go that extra mile or so as our eyelids gradually start to close from lack of sleep, your reactions are slower and therefor your not as quick as you would normally be, consequently leading to injuries or possible death.

Intro To Sleep Deprivation

What is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is simply a lack of sleep – now this can be either due to a person suffering from insomnia which keeps them awake most of the night, or a person who sleeps, but constantly wakes up during the night.

Sleep deprivation is more wide spread than you would think, and affects people in all walks of life, and unfortunately the symptoms associated with this condition has a snowball effect – it not only affects you but also the people around you, your friends, family and even your co-workers.

The chronic lack of sleep can also interfere with your work performance and most importantly your health. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain, mood changes, increased levels of stress, frustration and irritability.

sleep-deprivedSleeping is a basic need like breathing, eating and drinking! It is vital to your health and well being as sleep is necessary for your mental as well as your physical state. When your body is sleep deprived it can not function as efficiently as it needs to, sleep helps your brain to form new pathways to help you learn and retain information, it also helps with learning whether it be how to play an instrument, ride a bicycle, draw a picture or even to follow instructions on an English exam. Sleep can improve your attention span, decision making skills and creativity.

Studies show that sleep deprivation can alter activity in some areas of your brain and therefore you may have problems with making decisions, solving problems, keeping your emotions under control, coping with changes, as well as having an effect on your behaviour. Being deprived of sleep has also been linked to depression, risk taking, suicidal thoughts and in some cases has even been linked to actual cases of suicide.

You body needs sleep to maintain tissue repair, growth and muscle function as well as brain development. This is evident in very young infants, they require at least 14 to 18 hours of sleep during the first few weeks dropping to 12 to 16 hours by the end of the first month, this is not only critical to their normal development but is also due in part to the babies rapid growth, most infants double their birth weight by the time they reach 5 months, this adds to the theory that changes in hormonal signals during sleep boost the secretions of growth hormones, adding to the evidence of important biological changes happening during sleep.

Sleep is your bodies time for repair, we normally spend almost one third of our lives asleep, this may seem like an excessive amount but it’s extremely important to make sure we attain a good nights sleep so our bodies can do their job, without this down time our immune system will be unable to do it’s job, getting enough sleep can help resist infection the less sleep we get the more we are prone to disease this supports the theory the immune system increases production of certain proteins during sleep enabling us to resist infections.

Sleep is even good for the skin, while we are constantly shedding skin during the day our our bodies rebuild it during the night.

So evidence shows a lot goes on during sleep and being sleep deprived is extremely unhealthy for you in fact it is the cause of many mental as well as physical problems. Getting a good nights sleep is vital in functioning in the world around us.

In future articles we will be looking at some causes of sleep deprivation and of course some ways to combat it!