The latest series of studies proved that losing sleep can increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The study revealed that the dreaming phase of sleep which is called rapid eye movement or REM sleep could significantly influence the risk.

New study shows relationship of mental health problem and sleeping

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of Dementia. It is a degenerative brain disease that has been found in more than 5 million Americans. This number is expected to grow as the people ages.

A study published in the Journal of Neurology revealed that a significant amount of sleep loss could lead to dementia.

Matthew Pase, the author of the research, explained that sleep disturbances are common in the said condition. However, there is only a little information that associates the risk of dementia and various stages of sleep.

According to NBC News, other studies suggest that sleep apnea or a condition of interrupted breathing during sleep is one of the risk factors for dementia. Moreover, slow-wave sleep, which is another phase of sleep, can also increase the danger of developing the disease. Matthew Pase added that that the result pointed a strong evidenced that REM sleep is a predictor of dementia.

The researchers conducted a study on 321 people including the 60 subjects who volunteered for a sleep study in the early 90s. After tracking the participants for over ten years, they found out that 32 of them were later on diagnosed with dementia.

The result of the study shows that individuals with low REM sleep during the test developed the disease. Volunteers who developed dementia have an average of 17 percent of sleeping in the time of REM sleep. Meanwhile, only 20 percent of the participants did not develop the disease.

The team suggested that REM sleep could interfere with cognitive decline and synaptic loss.Moreover, people who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease also change their sleeping habit later on.

The team then explained that healthy participants felt several changes in their sleep. However, these disturbances are present more often in the person who has a severe Alzheimer’s disease.

Another research team from Washington University in St. Louis claimed that the interruption of sleep could allow amyloid and tau, a brain-clogging protein, increase their products which can lead to a mental health problem.

How is Alzheimer's disease treated?

Various types of drugs such as Aricept or Donepezil and Namenda can be used to treat Alzheimer's disease. However, these medications can only reduce the symptoms for a short period. Moreover, the medications do not slow the progression of the disease.

According to MSN, experts are now searching for sleep patterns to identify the chances of dementia to occur. It will also allow them to restore a healthy sleep habit that might reduce the risk and prevent the disease.

In the mean time, there is no particular method to prevent the disease. Individuals can do exercise, brain training, and a healthy diet to help prevent dementia.

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