An occasional late night here. Maybe an early morning there. It’s no big deal.
You KNOW sleep is vital for good health, of course.
But we’re just talking about some minor tossing and turning here. So it’s nothing to worry about, right?
It turns out it’s not that simple. In fact, new research has revealed we need to start taking chronic insomnia FAR more seriously.
If you don’t, you may be risking your memory, health, and independence.
And if your occasional short night is happening more often, you can’t afford to brush it off. Because according to the new study, regularly skipping out on sleep could send your Alzheimer’s risk soaring.
But not quite how anyone expected.
Tau tangles linked to sleep problems
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have connected sleeplessness with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
For a week, volunteers had their sleep monitored. The researchers kept track of how often everyone slept and how deep their sleep was.
Then at the end of the week, their tau protein levels were measured.
Tau proteins, you may recall, show up in all of our brains. In fact, they’re an essential building block in the pathways your brain uses to move nutrients and other molecules around.
But in the brains of folks with Alzheimer’s disease, tau starts building up. And instead of sticking to those pathways, the proteins start sticking to each other. Eventually, they form nasty, damaging tangles.
And as expected, sleep did affect those tau levels. But to everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t how little sleep folks got that was the issue.
DEEP sleep could lead to lower tau levels
Deep sleep is the stage of slumber when your brain cleans up clutter, recharges, and files memories.
And the researchers found that tau protein levels shot through the roof in the seniors who were getting less DEEP sleep.
In other words, the amount they slept wasn’t the issue. It was the quality of their sleep, which seemed to really matter. In fact, oversleeping was associated with higher levels of tau too.
Folks who took afternoon naps obviously added more hours to their sleep totals. But when they failed to get more deep sleep, they ended up with elevated tau and a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Now this new study wasn’t designed to show cause and effect. So we have a bit of a chicken or egg situation here.
We can’t say for sure yet that the lack of quality deep sleep triggers the climbing tau levels. Or if it’s the early stages of the disease which are disrupting sleep.
And it may even be a bit of both.
But there’s enough smoke to assume there’s a fire for now. Plus, either way, we already know quality sleep is vital for good health.
So it’s crucial to take chronic sleep problems seriously.
Protect your brain with all-natural sleep aids
Just be sure to avoid prescription or over-the-counter sleep medications. They can come with dangerous and unpredictable side effects.
And they’re not likely to lead to more quality deep sleep. Instead, consider an all-natural sleep aid…
Melatonin is a hormone your body produces naturally. Releasing it into your bloodstream is your body’s way of signaling that it’s time for sleep. But you make less and less melatonin as you age.
If you find yourself slogging through some temporary sleep problems, melatonin could help you get things back on track. Try taking a high-quality melatonin supplement 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to get more deep sleep.
If anxiety or stress keeps you from getting quality, deep sleep Valerian could be the solution.
This natural herbal supplement helps stimulate the amino acid GABA which triggers relaxation so you can slip into a peaceful slumber. Studies show Valerian improves sleep quality, the very thing you’re looking to do.
This naturally occurring amino acid, targets your nervous system, allowing you to sleep better and longer. In a study, researchers tracked the brain waves of folks taking glycine and found the supplement supports deep restorative sleep.
Don’t let poor sleep raise YOUR risk for Alzheimer’s. Try one of these natural sleep aids instead.