Studies from around the world are now showing sleep disorders can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. This includes daytime sleepiness, general grogginess, insomnia, and poor sleep quality. Here is a quick look at how these various issues are connected and some steps seniors can take to enhance their sleep habits.
The Brain While Sleeping
Some people think of sleep as a period when the body and mind shut down, but many critical processes take place during this time. All the muscles throughout the body are replenished with new cells, including the brain. Some of the proteins that become trapped in the brain throughout the day are also flushed away. When those proteins remain inside the brain, they form larger clumps known as plaques. Studies have shown that these plaques can kill brain cells and lead to issues such as Alzheimer’s.
If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Cedar Falls seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to.
Studies on Sleep Habits and Alzheimer’s
One of the most prolific studies on the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep habits was carried out by a research team at Washington University. This team scheduled ongoing tests with healthy adults between the ages of 35 and 65. At two week intervals, they would ask the participants about their sleep habits and then scan their brains for unusual protein clusters. By the end of the study, the researchers found out that a single night of disrupted sleep can increase the quantity and size of those clusters.
Do Poor Sleep Habits Cause Alzheimer’s?
Even though these studies seem to draw a clear line between Alzheimer’s and poor sleep, there are many other risk factors to consider. Most experts agree the two biggest risk factors are an individual’s age and genetics. There are also many lifestyle habits that can increase a senior’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s, including smoking, heavy drinking, a lack of exercise, and ongoing exposure to certain chemicals. Those who never challenge their cognitive abilities have much higher rates of Alzheimer’s as well.
How to Enhance Sleep Habits
Getting plenty of sleep every night is vital to a senior’s health, but a relatively high percentage of older adults experience chronic sleep deprivation. Those who can’t get to sleep at night or feel groggy every morning should schedule an appointment with a doctor to make sure there are no underlying medical issues that need to be addressed. They might also want to establish a strict nighttime routine they carry out just before bed. A good nighttime routine should include relaxing activities such as taking a hot shower or listening to quiet music.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Cedar Falls home care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Seniors who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages are often able to live long and fulfilling lives. There is currently no permanent cure for this disease, but many of the worst symptoms can be mitigated with various medications and lifestyle changes. Some seniors are able to boost their cognitive health by sticking to a healthy diet, exercising as much as possible, and challenging their cognitive abilities every day.
Lack of sleep can lead to a number of health issues in aging adults. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in home care. Cedar Falls seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To hire a dedicated caregiver for your loved one, give Home Care Assistance a call at 319-260-2222 today.