More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Now, new research is linking sleep problems with the brain disease.
Researchers surveyed just over 100 people at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease who had normal thinking and membory abilities. Participants were asked about their sleep quality and also provided a spinal fluid sample. Results show that people who reported having sleep problems had more biological markers for Alzheimer’s Disease in their spinal fluid than folks who did not report sleep problems.
Stephen Rao, PhD at Cleveland Clinic, says, “The basic finding is that the more disturbance of sleep that people reported, the more likely that they were going to have pathology in their spinal fluid that’s related to Alzheimer’s disease.”
While the study shows a link between sleep and Alzheimer’s, it’s a bit of a ‘Chicken and Egg’ scenario in that doctors aren’t sure what comes first the Alzheimer’s or the sleep problems.