Early symptom of Alzheimer’s Disease include Sleeping too much
Do you have trouble getting up every morning even if you slept for many hours? It could be a sign of dementia.
Scientists have found that people who normally spend a lot of time sleeping are twice as likely to develop dementia over the next decade.
An early warning sign of Alzheimer’s
A change in sleep patterns is a warning sign for Alzheimer’s, as it indicates that the brain, which controls the waking, has been damaged.
For this reason people with dementia have unusual sleep patterns.
The new study supports this idea, and suggests that changes in sleep may be evident long before characteristic Alzheimer’s symptoms, such as memory loss, begin to appear.
Sleeping many hours each night would be a marker of early neurodegeneration and, therefore, a useful clinical tool to identify those with an increased risk of developing dementia.
The Research study
More than 2,400 patients were studied, with an average age of 72 years, who were asked how much time they slept each night. In the 10 years of the study, there were 234 cases of dementia.
- They found that sleeping for more than 9 hours.
- Doubling the risk of all types of dementia, and specifically Alzheimer’s disease
- It was associated with lower brain volume
- Increased time needed to process information
- Signs of memory loss appeared
Sleep disturbances: A symptom rather than a cause
Sleep has a restorative function. During sleep the elimination of the metabolic waste of the brain occurs, so it prevents the accumulation of B-amyloid protein, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Atrophy of the brain regions involved in sleep and wakefulness, or some of the mood disorders that are common in dementia, can trigger some sleep disorders.
The inability to wake up each morning is a symptom rather than a cause of the brain changes that lead to dementia. For this reason, simply reducing the length of sleep time is unlikely to reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s.