Is an epidemic of sleeplessness increasing the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease?
Brain, Volume 142, Issue 6, June 2019, Page e30
Published: 01 April 2019
(Recap) Approximately 15% of Alzheimer’s disease cases in the population may be attributed to sleep problems. That was the sobering conclusion of a recent meta-analysis of 27 studies containing a total of almost 70,000 participants (Bubu et al., 2017). People with sleep problems were found to have an approximately 1.5 times greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those with normal sleep. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has pointed to a ‘global epidemic of sleeplessness’ with roughly two-thirds of adults sleeping less than 8 h a night. Are too many of us getting too little sleep and, in so doing, increasing our risk?
(Take-Away-Message) Helping people to sleep better with less disturbed and fragmented sleep may have long-term implications as it relates to neurodegenerative diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. There may also be a relationship to intermittent hypoxia that is associated with sleep related breathing disorders.