How Insufficient Sleep Raises Alzheimer’s Risk

How a Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer’s disease can be caused by several things such as diabetes and genetics, and some of these risk factors can’t be helped. However, other risk factors can be minimized through healthy lifestyle choices. One of the easiest ways seniors can reduce their dementia risk is by getting a good night’s sleep. 

The Importance of Sleep

For people with insomnia or other sleep disorders, getting eight hours of rest every night may seem difficult. The effects of insufficient sleep are far-reaching, and seniors with irregular sleep patterns should try to enhance their sleep habits. Poor sleep can lead to drowsiness, weight gain, depression, diabetes, and anxiety.

Lack of sleep can have a detrimental impact on a senior’s overall health and quality of life. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Winnipeg, MB, elderly in-home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.  

Sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease

While the body is at rest, it performs many important functions. The liver synthesizes, blood pressure drops, growth hormones are produced, hunger hormones are regulated, and the brain processes all the new information it took in during the day. The processes going on in the brain are most relevant to seniors who want to reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. When the brain enters the deep sleep phase, the hippocampus and the cortex communicate. The communication process boosts neuroplasticity, which is essential to the development of long-term memory. Without adequate sleep, the brain doesn’t have time to cement memories or maintain the neuroplasticity required for future brain health. 

The Glymphatic System

The brain has a waste-draining system known as the glymphatic system, and it is most active during the deep sleep phase. The system is responsible for getting rid of amyloid proteins. When these proteins accumulate and turn into plaques, it can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. During sleep, the brain uses cerebrospinal fluid to clean out the waste that accumulates between neurons. Once the waste and toxins are flushed out of the brain, they’re sent to the circulatory system, which gets rid of them once and for all. 

Helping a senior loved one get sufficient rest at night can be difficult, especially if he or she has insomnia or another sleep disorder. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Winnipeg, MB, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

How Much Sleep Do Seniors Need?

Seniors should try to sleep eight hours every night, which is often easier said than done. More important than continuous sleep is high-quality, restorative sleep. The brain needs the chance to flush out harmful buildup, but this doesn’t need to happen on a strict 11pm to 7am schedule. Seniors with insomnia or other issues should let their body guide their sleeping schedule. Night owls shouldn’t force themselves to wake up before 8am, and people who prefer to sleep in increments shouldn’t be afraid to take naps. 

Older adults who have difficulty getting sufficient sleep should try to implement good sleeping habits. They should turn off screens at least an hour before they get into bed, and their sleeping environment should be dark and temperate.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your senior loved one needs help making healthy lifestyle choices that promote better sleep and boost overall health. Although it may be challenging to find a reliable, highly rated elder care agency, Winnipeg, Manitoba, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise. To learn about our high-quality in-home care plans, call us at (204) 489 6000 today.

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