How Sleep Can Help Prevent Dementia

Though the common perception is that little can be done to prevent dementia, the new research that has been carried out about dementia suggests that a healthy lifestyle comprising healthy eating, exercise, stress management, adequate sleep, and staying socially and mentally active can help prevent dementia.

The Importance of Sleep for the Brain

Adequate sleep is highly necessary for the brain and helps maintain its optimal functions. Sleep deprivation not only causes tiredness but may also impair important brain functions like problem solving, thinking, processing information, storing, and recalling. Moreover, adequate and deep sleep is also associated with the critical process of memory formation and retention. Therefore, individuals who may experience a slower thought process owing to inadequate sleep and feel that their mood is also being affected by this may also be the ones who are at a greater risk of dementia.

Studies suggest that the amount of sleep an individual gets may later have an influence on Alzheimer’s risk, which is the most common form of dementia. Similarly, disrupted sleep patterns were also found to have an influence over amyloidal plaque buildup in the brain, even in individuals who are not facing memory problems. This is critical owing to the fact that the buildup and accumulation of the amyloidal plaque in the brain may serve as a predictor of Alzheimer’s in the future.

The Link Between Sleep and Dementia

The link between the brain’s health and sleep can be understood from a study that showed how the cerebrospinal fluid flow in the brain increases dramatically while an individual sleeps and is responsible for cleaning the toxins from the brain.

These toxins that are cleaned out from the brain also include the amyloid beta protein, which is the plaque responsible for Alzheimer’s. This system may be termed a waste and toxin removal process of the brain, and it allows the brain to shrink by 60 percent due to effective removal of the toxins. This process, however, requires a lot of energy, and that is why adequate and deep sleep is so essential to the brain for maintaining its optimal functioning and to prevent dementia.

Similarly, research studies also suggest that individuals who suffer from sleep apnea, which is associated with disrupted breathing and reduced oxygen intake while sleeping, also increases the risk of dementia in individuals. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are at twice the risk of developing dementia in the following five years than are individuals who are not faced with this condition.

Therefore, the role of adequate and deep sleep to prevent dementia is well documented. Getting plenty of peaceful sleep may help individuals reduce their risk of dementia.

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