The advent of age seems to bring a lot of changes in the human body. Loss of sleep is a common change amongst them. A recent study claims that a decreased amount of deep sleep in the old aged people could mean an increased possibility of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study that was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine
said that older people who got a lesser amount of deep sleep have a higher level of a brain protein called tau, which is a sign of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
Deep sleep is the slow-wave sleep people need to consolidate memories and wake up feeling refreshed, said the research team at the Washington University School of Medicine. The findings also said that deteriorating brain health and lack of quality sleep are related.
Brendan Lucey, an assistant professor at the Washington University said that their team noticed an inverse relationship between decreased slow-wave sleep and more tau protein in people who’re cognitively normal or mildly impaired. This meant that reduced slow-wave activity may be a marker for the transition between normal and impaired.
“Measuring how people sleep may be a non-invasive way to screen for Alzheimer’s disease before or just as people begin to develop problems with memory and thinking,” Mr. Lucey said.
For the purpose of the study, they monitored the participants’ sleep at home over the course of a normal week.
So, the next time our grand-parents complain about not being able to sleep well, perhaps we ought to stop and take notice.