A new study has revealed a single powerful step you can take to help protect yourself from brain destroying dementia.
And the best news of all is that it’s so simple you can literally do it in your sleep.
Because according to experts getting BETTER sleep could be the key to keeping Alzheimer’s at bay.
Of course we already knew shortcutting your slumber could take its toll on your brain.
But the new study reveals just how potent good quality sleep is, and how missing out on restful deep sleep could trigger a dangerous domino effect in your brain, which eventually leads to dementia.
Study reveals the importance of quality sleep
For the study researchers from Washington University School of Medicine tracked the sleeping patterns of a group of folks with healthy cognition for up to two weeks.
The volunteers wore activity trackers on their wrists, which allowed the scientists to see how much sleep they were clocking every night at home.
Participants then spent one night alone in a specially designed, sleep-friendly room that was dark, soundproofed and climate controlled. They had electrodes attached to their scalps to monitor their brain waves, and wore headphones.
Half the volunteers, chosen at random, had their sleep disrupted throughout the night. Whenever their brain signals showed they were entering the deep, dreamless sleep known as short-wave sleep the researchers played several beeps through the headphones until they returned to a shallower stage of sleep.
Although everyone technically got the same amount of sleep the unlucky folks who were denied deep sleep were, naturally, groggy sourpusses the next day.
One bad night sent beta amyloid skyrocketing
With very few exceptions, the half of the group that had their short-wave sleep interrupted didn’t remember the disruptions that had kept them from getting a good night’s sleep, but their bodies sure did.
Because when the scientists did spinal taps on all the volunteers what they found really knocked everyone’s socks off, according to the study published in the journal Brain.1
They measured the amount of beta amyloid and tau proteins in the fluids that surround the brain and spine, and discovered that amyloid levels had skyrocketed by 10 percent after just a single night of poor sleep.
The researchers then repeated the experiment a few weeks later flipping the groups, allowing the folks who had their sleep interrupted the first time to sleep through the night instead.
The results were the same, beta amyloid protein levels spiked.
Protect your brain from Alzheimer’s with better sleep
When you enter deep, short-wave sleep the neurons in your brain get to rest while a cleaning crew mops up all the gunk that builds up during the day, including the excess amyloid proteins that are linked to Alzheimer’s.
Now there’s no reason to panic if you find yourself tossing and turning from time to time. One bad night of sleep here and there isn’t likely to be a problem.
But if you regularly burn the candle at both ends, or have chronic sleep problems that keep you from getting deep restful sleep, sticky beta amyloid could begin to build up, forming the plaques that are a classic sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
To help you get the best sleep possible night after night, and make sure you get enough deep short wave sleep, think of your bedroom as a sleep cave.
Ban backlit electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets and laptops that emit sleep-disturbing blue light. Install blackout shades if outside light is a problem, and try keeping the room slightly on the cool side, which experts say is better for sleeping.
A lavender sachet under the pillow can help you relax improving your quality of sleep. And if you find you’re still having trouble sleeping skip the dangerous sleep drugs. Consider sipping on some chamomile tea or taking a sleep supporting supplement such as l-theanine, valerian, GABA, ginkgo biloba, l-tryptophan, hops or magnesium instead.
Don’t let poor sleep raise your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.