Alzheimer’s Disease Linked to Sleep Disturbances: Several Studies Suggest

Is Alzheimer’s Disease linked to sleep disturbances throughout one’s life? Some striking studies suggest a strong link between sleep disturbances and the disease. For example, in March of 2014 researchers from Temple University published a report in which they feel there is a definite link between a constant last of proper sleep and the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and similar disorders. Their study involving lab rats prevented the rats from having full cycles of proper rest for the first year of their lives. These rats, all of them, showed Alzheimer’s pathways of brain cognition around 14 to 15 months old. The equivalent in human-lifespan years would be around 65 years old. Their learning abilities were also greatly diminished, as compared to rats with normal sleep patterns, as were their memorization skills.

Though it seems quite cruel to deprive rats of sleep, even if is for important scientific reasons, researchers have done this same thing to humans. A group of 15 healthy, college-aged men, stayed awake all night under two different conditions (one with food, games, entertainment, etc. and one without these available and with nighttime conditions given). The study, conducted by the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, observed that morning serum levels were raised by 20 percent. This type of serum raise is usually attributed to brain trauma, and are levels found in Alzheimer’s patients.

Christian Benedict, who was a part of the study mentioned above of the 15 young men and sleep deprivation, also led a study that lasted 40 years. The results of the latter study were just released in October of 2014. This study, also under the aegis of Uppsala’s Department of Neuroscience, tracked over 1,000 men between the years 1970-2010, who were all 50 years old at the commencement of the study. During this 40-year span, the men were periodically examined for two things, self-reported sleep disturbances and signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The study showed that men who had self-reported sleep disturbances over several years were 1½ times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease, as compared to those who did not show sleep disturbances during the 40-year span. Also, men who exhibited sleep disturbances that began later in life were even more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. With Alzheimer’s Disease linked to sleep disturbances, it is imperative that you report any sleep disturbances that you may be suffering, even if they have only recently begun.