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Light Sleepers More Likely To Get Alzheimer’s

February 17, 2012 by  

Light Sleepers More Likely To Get Alzheimer’s

The amount and quality of sleep you get at night may affect your memory later in life, according to research to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans in April.

“Disrupted sleep appears to be associated with the build-up of amyloid plaques, a hallmark marker of Alzheimer’s disease, in the brains of people without memory problems,” says study author Yo-El Ju, MD, with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Further research is needed to determine why this is happening and whether sleep changes may predict cognitive decline.”

Researchers tested the sleep patterns of 100 people between the ages of 45 and 80 who were free of dementia. Half of the group had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. A device was placed on the participants for two weeks to measure sleep. Sleep diaries and questionnaires were also analyzed by researchers.

After the study, it was discovered that 25 percent of the participants had evidence of amyloid plaques, which can appear years before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin. The average time a person spent in bed during the study was about eight hours, but the average sleep time was 6.5 hours due to short awakenings in the night.

The study found that people who woke up more than five times per hour were more likely to have amyloid plaque build-up compared to people who didn’t wake up as much.

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  • Sirian

    Wonder how many millions of dollars in grant money has been spent on this life saving information? Uh, sleep more, less chance of getting Alzheimer’s. Sleep less, you stand a better chance of coming down with it. Now that should make everyone feel so much better, right? What’s next from the grandiose research grant money system?

    • Richnjc

      “Sleep more” seems like a reasonable conclusion but these people are unable to accomplish this task. The point really is that this identifies another early detection factor which perhaps can allow researchers another venue to help forestall this debilitating disease.

  • John

    I’m 75-years-old. For the past 40 years I have not slept for more than 2 hours straight. I never stay in bed for more than 5 hours. Within that 2 and 5 hour period I wake up frequently. According to your article, I can’t believe I remembered to reply to it.

  • Carol J

    As usual, I just got my regular 5 hours of sleep, turning from left side to right side once during the night. I don’t seem to be suffering from memory loss, but would I know it if I was? My brother worked as an RNA in a nursing home and discovered that when an Alzheimer’s patient had oxygen therapy they were alert and remembered who they were and where they were for several hours. He has tried to tell people this, and noone will listen to him. I guess it just isn’t profitable to know this.


      Carol J

      Oxygen Therapy Helps Victims of Stroke, MS, and Other Conditions
      What Are The Benefits Of Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy? … Sclerosis; Alzheimer’s Disease; Cerebral Palsy; Special-Needs Children — Autism, ADD, ADHD …


    I have slept like a cat ever since I could remember and much of my employment was overtime, emergency work and staying up for long nights and sometimes days. Now even though I can sleep as long as I like and lounge about, I don’t. I eat sensibly, nap and work at my leisure, I feel rested and well….the only thing that bugs me is this frigging bunch of clowns in the government.

    • hitthedeck

      ON Time–Maybe it’s those clowns in Washington that are light sleepers, especially Nancy Pelosi and others who are showing severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • hitthedeck

    Darn it! I forgot I went to sleep last night but I don’t feel sleepy.

  • eddie47d

    Mr Bob Livingston; When I type a comment it comes up in double. Why is that? (When I post it comes up as a singular comment). Also every other comment I make I have to re sign in? Why is that? Should I click on the blue bar code?

  • Dale

    This makes me wonder. I have severe psoriasis and sleep is difficult to say the least. Most times I wake up, go to the bathroom, get something to eat and drink and take meds then try to go back to sleep since I feel like I have not slept much at all. I don’t take sleeping pills either.

    I find my memory not being of much use anymore. I’m only 44 and have no one in the family with any memory issues. Makes me wonder.

    • Libertytrain

      Try Melatonin – look it up see what it does for your brain. Look into garlic as a vitamin supplement as well. D3, Turmeric…. Helped me, might help you…

      • Dale

        In the past I have tried some of those over the counter things. They just don’t do any good. I mostly can’t sleep because I itch, burn, have tingly sensations and such as that. It’s not that I’m not tired. Heck, I stay tired.

        I’m leary of prescription meds tho.

  • Libertytrain

    Try again. Garlic is good for skin problems; Melatonin helps you sleep among other things — I’m not pushing prescriptions…try looking again at natural every day stuff – this site is interesting. I know you are tired, and tired of it…just try and see what/if this might actually work….

    • Dale

      I have tried all sort of home remidies over the years. They don’t do anything for me. Heck, the Doctors can’t even get anything prescription to work. They even did a biopsy to make sure they were treating what they thought they was. It is psoriasis. Sent to two labs and both said the same thing. I already eat garlic. I love the stuff.

      I guess over the years I’ve just learned to deal with it. I sleep when I can and hope for the best.

      By the way, I got a bottle of melatonin in my cabinet right now. I tried it again a couple months ago. Heck, I took two of the little things. Nothing.

      • Libertytrain

        Dale, melatonin actually takes a couple weeks of usage before it kicks in. One “downside” that I really love but not all do, is that it does cause vivid dreaming. Remember the Good Lord helps those that help themselves. Sometimes you need to try a few approaches and for a few or several weeks at a time. And oddly, a positive attitude is also helpful. I understand vitamin D3 has helped some.

        • Dale

          When I took it before, I bought a 60 pill bottle. I took it until it ran out. It didn’t do anything at all. The last bottle, the one I still have some of, had 120 in it. It was the only size they had. It might have 50 or so in it. When I spoke to my Dr about this, he said that most likely my body produces a normal level of melatonin already since it doesn’t do anything for me. Keep in mind, melatonin only works if the body doesn’t produce it itself. If the body already produces it, it doesn’t do anything. The reason I can’t sleep is not a chemical thing. It is because my skin bugs me 24/7.

          I have tried all sorts of things in the vitamin/mineral/herb area for my skin. They work the same as the melatonin, nothing. I even changed laundry detergent, soaps, deodorant and everything else that touches my skin. I even changed the material for my pants, shirts, underwear and all. Finding comfy underwear that is not cotton was fun for a bit there. None of that changed a thing but it was costly.

          Trust me when I say this, I have tried some of the most stupid things and everything that folks would think would work. My skin is the way it is and it doesn’t appear to want to change. After all, it is genetic. It would be like taking a pill hoping I would grow a third arm or a extra eye. I won’t let a Dr touch my skin with anything. I have been to 6 specialists and each one threw the sink at it. I got worse with each thing they tried. My regular Dr wishes I would try some of the new meds, I explained the definition of stupid to him. You know, doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Basically, I gave up on my skin getting fixed a long time ago. As bad as it is, it can be worse. When I first went to the Dr some 25 years ago, I was less than 1% and that was nothing. When I got on disability about 12 years ago, I was at 90 to 95%. After many years, I got back to 70 to 80% with me leaving it alone. I don’t want to be back at 90% again, EVER. Yea, 70 to 80% is bad, but trust me when I say this, 90% is MUCH worse. I’m not sure I could go through that again mentally.

          Good Lord also gave people common sense. After the Drs got me from no real problem to being disabled, I think I had enough of that help. The common sense that the good Lord gave me tells me to leave well enough alone. It could be worse, I know it can because I been there.

      • Libertytrain

        thanks for the explanation, your previous posts were lacking info. Well, I think still the good Lord helps those that help themselves….and if you’ve given up that is your choice. I might have done the same. Don’t know.

        • Dale

          It is hard to put feelings into text. Plus, this is very public. I have a lot of history that just can’t be put into text. Some good but a lot of bad. As I told my regular Dr. long ago, I really believe Doctors want to help me, and everyone else, and have the best of intentions. Thing is, the results didn’t turn out to be what any of us wanted. Theory is a good thing but reality is absolute. Remember the old feather and the hammer on the moon?

          I have a friend that found out she has stage 3 lung cancer. She has had cancer twice before. The treatments to get rid of that cancer were tough. Chemo and all that is a tough thing. She really put up a fight to get through all that. Her kids are grown now, married and even have kids of their own. She chose not to fight this again. As she put it, her job is done and she just doesn’t have any fight left in her. She had a very hard time as a single Mom. No one else understands her decision. I don’t want to lose my friend and will miss her. I do understand her decision tho. Sometimes theory meets reality and those results don’t match up.

          I had a uncle that had cancer. He fought it with chemo, surgery and all the other things that they do. He fought it for 7 or 8 years then died. Close to the end, he said he wished he had just let it do its thing in the beginning. When he died, he had almost nothing left. They had removed so much of him, he was really suffering. I might add, his wife gave no support at all. What he saw in her I’ll never know.

          Maybe one day things will change. Someone posted about this being a mental thing, they could be right. Thing is, I can’t afford to explore that. I get by but that is about it. I miss working, I miss the money I made but reality hits and says that right now, that’s not a option. Funny thing is, I went to a psychic. She is forth generation and it is amazing what they do. She had never met me or knew anything about me. I paid in cash so she never knew my name. Thing is, she knew a lot about me. Funny thing is, the folks here say about the same. My Mom went to the mother of the lady I went to. She told my Mom lots of things. Mom said she was right about every one of them. I know it is hard to believe and that a lot of them a quacks but she is something else. I really need to work on the things she said. She to said I need to get some things changed in my life. I just seem to keep running into those brick walls. The reality of the past is tough to get over.

          Now you can call me nuts. lol

      • Libertytrain

        keep us posted….that darn brick wall is what holds most of us back…. and there’s always more than one brick wall.

        • Dale

          It does. I feel like I have a fortress up around me. I think it is also one reason I am single. Those walls show when people get close enough.

      • Libertytrain

        you built it, it will be up to you and you alone to deconstruct it. Good luck. :)

  • Elia Harris

    Dale, you could be suffering from anxiety of a psychological nature. See if you can find someone who does TFT (Thought Field Therapist). TFT is wonderful for releasing memories recorded at the cellular level, when nothing else helps. Good luck.

    • Dale

      Well, me and the Doctor call it being “gun shy”. I think that came from a hunter shooting his dog to much. LOL You have a point. When I was about 7,8 or so, I had a really bad experience in the local hospital. I recently had a reaction to penicillin and had to go to that hospital. The Dr. had to argue to get me there because I did NOT want to go, not there at least. Keep in mind, I was literally days from being dead and I knew it. I managed to stay 5 days, at least until they thought I was going to live. I was about to AMA myself out when the Dr. told me I could go home if I would see my regular Dr. until it cleared up. Honestly, I only had cat naps while in there. I hate the place. I’m 44 now, and it was just a few years before my last stay that I could even drive by the place without the hairs on my neck standing up.

      My regular Dr. is part of a clinic. There are three Dr.s there. Only one has hospital privileges. So, I had a different Dr. when I was in the hospital but my regular Dr. and the hospital Dr. talked about my condition daily. The Dr. I see regularly is about the only one I trust. If he retires, I’m in a mess. I been seeing him since about 1990 or so. He knows my history and sort of understands me.

      Right now, I have wondered if I am so worried about the side effects of any new meds that the drug is overtaken by my thoughts on meds. My psoriasis is triggered by stress. I must admit, I have lost trust in the stuff. Whenever a new med comes out, I go read about the potential side effects. The risks of some of the meds is pretty serious. Most have liver or kidney failure as a risk but that is about every med nowadays. For my particular situation, infections is a bad risk. I get sinus infections a lot. I have always been at risk for catching those. When me and my Dr. talked about this, he said he was concerned that if I took a new med, such as Stelara, that I would get a sinus infection and end up back in the hospital. Also, keep in mind that I can’t take penicillin anymore. If I was told that I had to go to the same hospital again, I would walk away. It just won’t happen.

      I guess that is why it is called “gun shy”. You don’t forget things, especially the bad stuff.


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