Scientists have conducted countless studies which show that insufficient sleep can have a serious impact on our bodies. By increasing our risk for developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes, sleep deprivation can compromise our physical health. Just as serious, a growing body of research is showing that poor sleep also has the power to harm our mental health by promoting Alzheimer’s disease.
A study out of Washington University School of Medicine suggests that poor sleep can result in a buildup of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain. Widely regarded as a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid buildup is usually detected using tests which analyze cerebral spinal fluid. To reach their findings, the researchers in this study recruited about 140 healthy adults who had no symptoms of any sort of cognitive problems. After monitoring their sleep for 14 days, the researchers tested their cerebral spinal fluid and found significant beta-amyloid buildup in the 32 subjects who had the poorest quality of sleep.
Defining Poor Quality of Sleep
When people think about poor sleep, they tend to imagine short sleep durations; however, poor sleep quality may also refer to shallow sleep marked by frequent waking. This is especially common amongst sleep apneics, who experience breathing disruptions which cause them to awaken throughout the night. Because they are never able to attain steady, uninterrupted sleep, sleep apneics tend to get less restorative REM sleep, resulting in chronic fatigue, daytime drowsiness and an increased risk of health problems.
Time to Act
If you suffer from sleep apnea; it’s time to pay attention to the mountain of evidence which shows that your health is at risk. If you want to live a long, healthy, happy life, take action and reach out for help.