Daytime Naps Could Increase Alzheimer’s Risk

By Lynn Allison – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

New research shows that taking naps during the day could lead to increased plaque development associated with Alzheimer’s disease. According to Interesting Engineering, most experts recommend getting a solid eight hours of sleep each night as the magical number to allow the body to recover, encourage mental clarity and boost the immune system.

However, new data shows that trying to make up for a bad night’s sleep by taking naps could be harmful to your mental health.

The study, from Johns Hopkins University reports that people who are very sleepy during the day were three times more likely than those who were well rested to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The new research bolsters a growing body of evidence linking good sleep patterns with reduced risk of getting the dreaded disease.

“Factors like diet, exercise and cognitive activity have been widely recognized as important potential targets for Alzheimer’s disease prevention, but sleep hasn’t quite risen to that level of studies—although that may well be changing,” said Adam P. Spira Ph.D., associate d professor in the Department of Mental Health at John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Spira was the lead author of the study with collaborators from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Bloomberg School, and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The researchers found that participants in their study who reported daytime sleepiness were three times more likely to have beta-amyloid plaque deposits in their brains than those who didn’t report feeling sleepy.

Researchers theorize that disturbed or insufficient sleep cause the plaques to build up through a yet unknown mechanism in the body.

“However, we cannot rule out that amyloid plaques that were present at the time of sleep assessment caused the sleepiness,” he admitted.

However, in animal studies it seems to suggest that developing Alzheimer’s is consistent in sleep-deprived specimens.

“If disturbed sleep contributes to Alzheimer’s disease,” Spira added, “we may be able to treat patients with sleep issues to avoid these negative outcomes.”

The study also noted that the quality of sleep may be as important as the quantity of sleep.

“There is no cure yet for Alzheimer’s disease, so we have to do our best to prevent it. Even if a cure is developed, prevention strategies should be emphasized,” Spira said. “Prioritizing sleep may be one way to help prevent or perhaps slow down this condition.”

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