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Get Some Sleep!

Heed this, Caregivers, living your 36 hour day.


Everybody knows that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, and sometimes sleep seems like a time consuming nuisance.  But research has shown there are lots of health ailments related to chronic sleep deprivation, early onset Alzheimer’s being one of them.

Amyloid production- the gunk of Alzheimer’s pathology- tends to increase during periods of wakefulness and decrease when we fall asleep.  Could this be why some people experience “sundowning” late in the day- since the amyloid factories have been producing plaque all day long?  Would getting more sleep offset this phenomenon?

I’m not sure how reliable this research is, but it’s clear that sleep deprivation stresses our bodies.  If you or your loved one has difficulty sleeping, please see your physician.


Source: Science. 2009; Nov;326(5955):1005-7; PMID: 19779148
Amyloid-beta (Abeta) accumulation in the brain extracellular space is a hallmark of Alzheimer\’s disease. The factors regulating this process are only partly understood. Abeta aggregation is a concentration-dependent process that is likely responsive to changes in brain interstitial fluid (ISF) levels of Abeta. Using in vivo microdialysis in mice, we found that the amount of ISF Abeta correlated with wakefulness. The amount of ISF Abeta also significantly increased during acute sleep deprivation and during orexin infusion, but decreased with infusion of a dual orexin receptor antagonist. Chronic sleep restriction significantly increased, and a dual orexin receptor antagonist decreased, Abeta plaque formation in amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice. Thus, the sleep-wake cycle and orexin may play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer\’s disease.

Kang JE, Lim MM, Bateman RJ, Lee JJ, Smyth LP, Cirrito JR, Fujiki N, Nishino S, Holtzman DM (November 2009). “Amyloid-β Dynamics are Regulated by Orexin and the Sleep-Wake Cycle”. Science326 (5955): 1005–7. doi:10.1126/science.1180962. PMC2789838. PMID19779148.  Abstract: A 2009 report demonstrated that amyloid beta production follows a circadian rhythm, rising when an animal (mouse) or person is awake and falling during sleep. The wakefulness-promoting neuroprotein orexin was shown to be necessary for the circadian rhythm of amyloid beta production. The report suggested that excessive periods of wakefulness (i.e. due to sleep debt) could cause chronic build-up of amyloid beta, which could hypothetically lead to Alzheimer’s disease.  This is consistent with recent findings that chronic sleep deprivation is associated with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Ramírez, B.; Blázquez, C.; Gómez Del Pulgar, T.; Guzmán, M.; De Ceballos, M. (2005). “Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease pathology by cannabinoids: neuroprotection mediated by blockade of microglial activation”. Journal of Neuroscience25 (8): 1904–1913. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4540-04.2005. PMID15728830. edit
Volicer L, Harper D, Manning B, Goldstein R, Satlin A (2001). “Sundowning and circadian rhythms in Alzheimer’s disease”. Am J Psychiatry158 (5): 704–11. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.5.704. PMID11329390.

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