The Importance of Sleep

When an individual starts to develop signs of Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, there is no way to turn back the clock and stop it from occurring. But, there are ways many adults can slow down dementia progression. 

According to researchers from the University of Cambridge and Fudan University, insufficient sleep in middle and old age is linked to poorer cognitive performance and mental health. The study also found that seven hours of sleep is optimal in enabling better cognitive function and reducing the risk of dementia.  

Understanding the value of sleep is an effective way to help yourself or your loved one with dementia.

Dementia Can Cause Sleep Problems

Many people diagnosed with dementia can experience sleep disturbances, further escalating their dementia-related problems. Some common sleep disorders that could signify dementia include insomnia, obstructed sleep apnea (OSA), and circadian rhythm problems.

If you don’t address these sleep problems as they occur, they can worsen dementia symptoms and impact the quality of life of those living with the disease. If you’re unsure how to tackle sleep problems, look for memory care facilities with registered nurses to help you. 

A memory care residence specializes in assisting individuals with dementia, so they are likely to be aware of how you can slow down dementia progression with a good night’s sleep.

A person sitting on a bed

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Brain Flushes Alzheimer’s Protein Deposition 

When an individual is asleep, the brain flushes Alzheimer’s proteins called beta-amyloid, preventing them from forming into plaque and damaging neurons. Beta-amyloid is a protein that clumps together to form Alzheimer’s.

The beta-amyloid that accumulates during the day is flushed away when a person is sleeping. So, lack of sleep can reduce the chance of the proteins getting eliminated from the brain. If the brain cannot effectively wash away these proteins, the risk of developing dementia becomes higher. 

Better Sleep Quality Can Improve Mood

When an individual with dementia doesn’t get sufficient sleep, they might quickly get agitated, leading to arguments with loved ones or other behavioral issues. These consistent behaviors can eventually lead to more significant problems, such as depression or anxiety, further escalating the symptoms of dementia.

When individuals in the early stages of dementia get enough sleep, they are at a lower risk of developing further dementia-related problems.

Sufficient Sleep Reduces Wandering Risk

Wandering is a common symptom of dementia and can be harmful if not addressed correctly. When a person with dementia cannot sleep, they might wander around, which can be risky. Getting enough sleep at night reduces this risk as they won’t feel the urge to get up and look for something. 

The best way to reduce wandering among individuals with dementia is by encouraging engagement in activities throughout the day. If they participate in activities that stimulate their brain and tire their body, they will sleep throughout the night. 

Sleep plays a critical role in dementia progression. Taking the proper measures to improve sleeping habits can slow down dementia progression in the long run. 

By Caitlyn

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