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Lack of sleep linked with Alzheimer's disease

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Monday, 28 January 2019, 6:36AM
New research has linked lack of sleep to an increased chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. Photo / Getty Images

New research has prompted the call for poor sleep to be treated as a public health crisis after it was linked with an increased chance of developing Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers are warning that it could lead to a public health crisis and deserves as much attention as the obesity epidemic.

Neurology professor at Washington University, David Holtzman told Tim Dower lack of sleep is linked with a number of diseases.

"This link with different diseases, both outside the brain and inside the brain...is a real issue that tells us we need to be changing our lifestyle."

"We know that in diseases like Alzheimer's, proteins accumulate in the brain and what the lack of sleep is doing is, it's causing an increase in one of these proteins to accumulate and spread around the brain."

Holtzman said with the increase in average lifespan, Alzheimer's is becoming more of an issue.

"What you don't want to do is get in a situation where the remainder of your life is not one that one can enjoy, so that's why sleep is so critical."

He said deep sleep is really important for staying healthy.

"We did not look yet look at what are the things that can protect against that, but presumably, getting better deep sleep (slow wave sleep) is one of the ways to decrease the risk of getting this problem."

Holtzman said people need to change their lifestyles to make sure they are getting enough sleep.

"One of the big issues is that people need to try to have a regular schedule of when they go to sleep and wake up, and one of the ways to do that is to stay active during the day, exercise, all of those things prompt having a regular schedule."

Technology is also having a negative impact on people's sleep, he said.

"It's probably not good to have your TV in your room at night when you go to sleep, that's more light and another reason not to stay awake longer."

"Make sure the lights in your room where your sleeping are really out and there's no seepage of light."

"Try not to be constantly in front of a computer, especially in the time right before you're about to go to bed."

Older people need less sleep than younger people.

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