Sleeping allows the brain to perform “house cleaning” and eliminate waste. If the brain is unable to perform these tasks, there is a higher risk of memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers have found that poor sleep leaves the brain with more tau proteins, which have been linked to brain damage, cognitive decline, and are a sign of Alzheimer’s.
There are many nighttime habits you could be performing that are putting your brain at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But recognizing and changing these habits could reduce your risk.
7 Sleep Habits That May Increase the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Pulling all-nighters: You may think you’re getting more done by staying up all night, but you’re doing more harm than good. Studies have shown that sleepless nights increase the risk of tau buildup in the brain by 51.5 percent.
You live with untreated sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to awaken several times throughout the night. Studies suggest that patients with sleep apnea have more tau buildup than those without. Sleep apnea prevents oxygen from getting to the brain, so living with it untreated can have detrimental long-term effects.
You rely on sleep aids: If sleeping is difficult for you and you rely on sleep aids to get a good night’s sleep, you’re putting your brain at risk. Long-term use of sleep aids has been associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It may be time that you get to the bottom of your sleeping troubles and stop relying on medications.
You’re not getting enough restorative sleep: As we sleep, we enter different sleep cycles, one of those being a deep, restorative cycle. Not spending enough time in this phase can increase your risk of elevated levels of tau proteins.
You’re a back sleeper: Sleeping on your side, as opposed to your back or front, has been linked with more significant brain clean up. As mentioned, if the brain is unable to “clean up,” it can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
You’re a big napper: An occasional nap is okay, but if you rely on them, it could be putting you at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. That is because napping disrupts your body’s natural internal clock.
You use your smartphone at night: The light of a smartphone screen is called blue light and studies have shown that blue light can disrupt sleep by messing with your internal clock.
By making simple changes to your nighttime routine, you can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s of forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. This article was first published on BelMarraHealth.com