A study of older adults shows that people who describe themselves as very sleepy during the day are almost three times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease, that is, it acts on the brain and causes a progressive loss of memory. At the moment, no effective treatment can control this disease, but a new study may have found a way to prevent or slow its onset.
Researchers have long known that lack of sleep is common in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The study conducted by researchers at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in the United States and published in the journal Sleep , adds that the poor quality of sleep could contribute to the development of this disease.
Desires for a nap, a bad omen
Their study showed that people who sleep a lot during the day are almost three times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease later on. Involved: the appearance of the deposit of beta-amyloid protein, a protein found in the neurons of certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, during too important daytime naps.
To achieve this result, the researchers used data from a long-term study launched in 1958 by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) that tracked the health of thousands of volunteers as they grew older. They had to answer a questionnaire between 1991 and 2000 about their drowsiness during the day. They then conducted a series of neuroimaging assessments to identify the presence or absence of beta-amyloid protein in their brains.
A correlation was found between questionnaire responses and brain imaging: those who reported a sleepy state during the day had almost three times more beta-amyloid protein deposits in the brain than the others.
Sleeping well at night would reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s
The researchers say that the mechanism of appearance of these proteins in relation to cravings during the day remains unclear. However, a probable explanation according to them is that disturbed or insufficient sleep leads to the state of drowsiness and therefore to the appearance of beta-amyloid proteins. Thus, a good night’s sleep could be an effective way to prevent, or even prevent, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Beyond sleep, three practices are already known to prevent the onset of this neurodegenerative disease: diet, exercise and regular brain activity.