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!